July 16, 2020

Old Lyme’s Whippoorwill Rd. Parking Lot Closed Resulting in Changes to Open Space Access

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Open Space Commission has announced in a statement that the parking lot on Whippoorwill Rd. used by visitors to the Ames Open Space and McCulloch Family Open Space properties was closed July 1, 2020.

The owner of the parking lot has graciously allowed the town use his private property for many years for parking, but recently rescinded permission in anticipation of a possible land sale.

In response, the Old Lyme Open Space Commission is actively exploring the feasibility of a new parking area on town land along the pentway (driveway) leading to the McCulloch property, adjacent to the former parking area.  As this may involve an archaeological assessment, survey and engineering work, land clearing and lot construction, it will likely become a future property amenity.

In the meantime, the Open Space Commission has announced the following access changes to trails:

Ames Open Space

  • The Whippoorwill Rd. access to the Ames Open Space will be closed until further notice.  This trail connector has been periodically flooded, rendering it unusable for periods of time in the past. Closure will resolve this issue and also allow beavers to occupy open space property without disturbance.
  • Ames Open Space trails may be accessed from the existing Evergreen Rd. entrance.

McCulloch Family Open Space

  • The yellow trailhead in the McCulloch Family Open Space will be accessible only by pedestrian and bicycle access.  Vehicle parking on the pentway leading to this trailhead is prohibited.
  • The yellow trail remains fully accessible for visitors and hikers, but without a parking area. This trail may also be accessed via either the property’s Tree in the Gap or Flat Rock Hill Rd. entrances, both of which remain fully open.
  • Maps showing the alternate open space entrances are available on the town website.

Florence Griswold Museum Reopens to Public with 24-Hour Advance Tickets Only; New ‘Fresh Fields’ Exhibition on View

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum and Café Flo have reopened to the public.  Admission to the Museum is limited and by 24-hour advance online ticketing only. Check the Museum website for admission requirements and details of how to purchase tickets. Café Flo is open by reservation only.

Childe Hassam, Apple Trees in Bloom, Old Lyme, 1904. 25 x 30 in., Florence Griswold Museum, Gift of the Vincent Dowling Family Foundation in Honor of Director Emeritus Jeffrey Andersen.

Visitors to the Museum will be greeted with a new exhibition, Fresh Fields, which is a celebration of the Museum’s most beloved landscape paintings created by Impressionist artists who visited Old Lyme. The exhibition opens July 7 and runs through Nov. 1.

The selection highlights major recent acquisitions, such as Childe Hassam’s Apple Trees in BloomOld Lyme (1904), and emphasizes ongoing research about the local landscape that informed development of the Artists’ Trail.

Paintings, drawings, archival materials, and photographs will shed light on the history and ecology of Old Lyme, which caused it to become a gathering place for artists.

The exhibition also calls upon the knowledge and viewpoints of outside experts to build an interdisciplinary understanding. In addition to the Museum’s own curators and art history scholars, contributors will include an ecologist, members of the local Native American community, and experts on women’s history and African-American history.

Fresh Fields relies on those with expertise in these areas to help create a more complete understanding of the human history, culture, and values that shaped these Impressionist landscapes.

Editor’s Note: Remember that the Museum grounds are open and in bloom now — no need to wait for the reopening of the Museum to enjoy them!


A New Independence Day Parade Tradition Starts on Rogers Lake

In the spirit of Independence Day, Lady Liberty stood tall on board one of the boats.

OLD LYME — Undoubtedly disappointed that both the Sound View and Lyme Independence Day parades were cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, Rogers Lake residents took matters into their own hands and came up with an inspired solution to the social distancing issue associated with parades.

Rogers Lake West Shores Association President Dave Evers (standing center) waved cheerfully to the lakeside onlookers.

They organized at very short notice the “1st Annual Rogers Lake 4th of July Boat Parade,” which was held Saturday morning. It lasted over and hour and was in the words of the Rogers Lake West Shores Association (RLWSA) Facebook page author, “a complete success.”

Appropriately-decorated boats of all shapes and sizes joined the cheerful parade, which Maureen Plumleigh described succinctly to LymeLine as, “Colorful, noisy and just plain fun.”

State Rep. Devin Carney (R-23rd) took the opportunity to enjoy the day out on the water … and do a little campaigning for the upcoming election!

We are very grateful to the RLWSA for sharing their great photos with us of this wonderful new tradition so that our readers can now enjoy the event too!

Flags … and fun!




Letter to the Editor: Sen. Formica Clarifies His Support of Expanding CT’s Absentee Ballot Rules

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to see David Collins write columns in The Day, (“Can Connecticut GOP block safe voting,” June 11 and “The two sides of Sen. Formica’s mouth on early voting,” June 26), which ignore many facts and try to paint all Connecticut Republicans as wanting to risk people’s lives in a public health emergency as a way of suppressing votes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Contrary to what is stated in Collins’ columns, I absolutely believe that in the current environment there is a need for vulnerable populations and those with preexisting conditions to vote by absentee ballot, and if Collins had called me before writing columns attacking me, I would have explained my perspective in detail. In this unique situation, I support no-excuse absentee ballots for all people, with proper safeguards in place to ensure every legal vote is counted.

As much as I would like to see every person be able to vote by absentee ballot, there is also a state constitutional question as to whether any legislature or governor has the ability to change the laws on absentee ballots because of the restrictions contained in the Connecticut Constitution. That document can only be changed by Connecticut voters through a ballot question, not by the legislature, governor or any state official.

The Connecticut Constitution does not allow for no-excuse absentee ballots, and states that the legislature may define laws for voting absentee only if a person is, “unable to appear at the polling place on the day of election because of absence from the city or town of which they are inhabitants or because of sickness or physical disability or because the tenets of their religion forbid secular activity.”

The question of what the legislature can do within these limits is currently being discussed amongst legislators and being looked at by the courts. We are awaiting an answer.

Collins wrongly jumps to conclusions about me based on a vote that took place last year long before the COVID-19 pandemic on a proposal to allow for early in-person voting, a different issue. I voted against a referendum on early in-person voting because there was no provision for a safe and secure method for which the early voting was to occur. Instead, the bill asked for a modification to the Constitution and left the safety and security provisions to be defined later. I thought it would have been fairly simple to outline the way early voting would occur with proper protections — in a town clerk’s office during a preset time period for example — and thought that was an important piece missing from the legislation.

While Collins’ intent seems to be designed to lump me and my Republican colleagues in with the division of Washington D.C., I have always worked with people on both sides of the aisle to reach solutions that help Connecticut residents. This issue is no different.

Our job as lawmakers is to make sure we have policies that protect everyone’s rights, including access to voting, the integrity of their vote and upholding the Constitution. If we can address the constitutional question and get clarity from the court as to what the legislature can legally do in regard to absentee ballots, I would vote for no-excuse absentee ballots for all, with proper safeguards during this difficult time.


State Sen. Paul Formica,
Hartford & East Lyme.

Editor’s Note: State Senator Paul Formica represents the residents of the 20th Senatorial District, which includes Old Lyme along with Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford. He serves as Deputy Senate Republican Leader, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee and the Energy and Technology Committee, and Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tourism Caucus. 


Police Investigating Knife and Shovel Attack in Old Lyme That Sent Three to Hospital (from ‘The Day’)


Two people were stabbed and another was struck in the head with a shovel during a Saturday night fight in front of a home at 80 Rogers Lake Trail.

State police are investigating and said Sunday they expect to file charges.

Police said they received multiple 911 calls around …

Visit this link to read the full article by Erica Moser and published July 5 on TheDay.com.


Death of Barbara Bourne Announced; Graduate of Old Lyme’s Center School Class of 1949

OAKDALE – Barbara Ruth (McKernan) Bourne, 89, of Oakdale, passed away peacefully, as she wished, in her sleep at Orchard Grove Rehabilitation in Uncasville June 29, 2020. Barbara was born Jan. 14, 1931, to the late James and Gladys McKernan.

The family left New London to eventually settle in a home on the West Shores of Rogers Lake in Old Lyme, where the family still resides. Barbara graduated in 1949, from Center School in Old Lyme. She and former husband Carl started their family in 1950, raising three sons, while living and working the Pioneer Farm on Mile Creek Road for the Marsh family. Life changes brought Barbara to work in …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published July 5 on TheDay.com.


Old Lyme BOS Votes to Hold Summer Fireworks, July 25, Despite No Midsummer Festival This Year

The Town of Old Lyme’s fireworks display traditionally rounds off Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival. The festival is not being held this year but the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted June 30 to hold the fireworks display July 25 regardless.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Board of Selectmen voted Tuesday afternoon (June 30) at a Special Meeting to hold the annual fireworks celebration that normally takes place in the evening following the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival.  This is a significant decision since the Midsummer Festival itself, scheduled for Saturday, July 25, will not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The selectmen’s plan is to hold the fireworks on the evening of Saturday, July 25, with a raindate of Sunday, July 26.

Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold, however, clarified to LymeLine in a text this morning that the event is still subject to a number of caveats, stating the fireworks will be held, “… subject, of course, to state and local requirements.” and also that, “We have verbal permission from the school but we must be sure the new solar panels are not harmed.”

Griswold confirmed that, assuming the fireworks go ahead, there will be no shuttle bus service this year due to social distancing constraints.

He added that the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen, ” … believes the fireworks will be a welcome family event for the people of Old Lyme!”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read our earlier story published June 22, titled, “Will There Be Fireworks in Old Lyme This Year?”


Death of Agnes M. Lauterwasser Announced, Mother of Richard Marcks of Old Lyme

BRICK, NJ — Agnes M. Lauterwasser nee Carver (formerly known as Agnes Marcks), 89, of Brick, passed away peacefully on June 28, 2020 at Ocean Medical Center, Brick. Agnes was born in Belmar. Raised her family in Brick. She moved to South Belmar than to Howell in 1984. She worked as an office clerk for Geese Police Inc. in Howell for over 20 years where she was fondly referred to as “Mother Goose” as well as Ms. Agnes …

Agnes was predeceased by her beloved husband George Lauterwasser. She is survived by her 6 loving children and their spouses, Mary (Joe) Tomaro, Vero Beach FL, Richard (Sandy) Marcks, Old Lyme CT, Dianne (George) Neveras, Vero Beach, FL, Agnes Eldridge, Point Pleasant Beach, David (Diane) Marcks, Wall, and Beverly Marcks, Brick.

Visit this link to read the full obituary published on the Legacy.com website.


Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Offers Small Group Eco-adventures in Lyme, Old Lyme for Ages 10-15

“Ponding” with RTPEC instructors is always an educational and fun experience. Photo from RTPEC.

LYME-OLD LYME — What lies beneath the water? How can you find your way in the woods? Can you use cabbage to create art?

The Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center (RTPEC) is offering small group, in-person programming to explore these questions and more beginning July 13 and following all current COVID-19 safety procedures. The RTPEC building on Halls Rd. will, however, remain closed.

Join in hands-on activities while discovering local biodiversity, using scientific tools, and creating beautiful natural art pieces. Morgan Allen, a RTPEC teacher-naturalist, will lead participants in outdoor, experiential field programs focusing on different daily topics in different locations.

Pond Exploration at Jewett Preserve in Lyme 
Monday, July 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Tuesday, July 21, 3 – 5 p.m.
Join Allen in exploring what plants and animals may live in the pond using nets, solar microscopes, and more. Discover the chemical characteristics of the pond by learning how to take temperature and pH samples. Test the water quality using our Creek Critter app to identify macroinvertebrates and learn how to become a citizen scientist. Bring close-toed water shoes, a towel, and wear clothing that can get wet.

Hiking Adventures at Beckett Hill State Park in Lyme
Wednesday, July 15, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Thursday, July, 23, 3 – 5 p.m. 
Take an adventure into the woods. Learn how to use binoculars, solar scopes, and field guides to identify plants and animals. Use a soil sieve to discover what’s hiding in the soil.  Not sure which way you are traveling? Learn how to use a compass to navigate your way. Wear sturdy hiking shoes.

Art in Nature at Ferry Landing State Park in Old Lyme
Friday, July 17, 10 a.m – 12 p.m. and Saturday, July 25, 3 – 5 pm 
Release the artist within! Over these two hours, Allen will teach participants how to create a variety of natural art pieces including designing a seascape with sand and shells, clay pressings using natural materials, and making your own natural tie-dye. Wear clothing that can get messy and something to tie-dye.

To register and for more information, visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/rtp-programs-events/
Register for one, two, or three days. There is a 10-person maximum for each day.
The price is $30 RTPEC member/day, $35 non-member/day; $75 RTPEC member/three days, $90 non-member/three days.

Each child should bring a water bottle daily.

Masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.


Saint Ann’s Nearly New Shop in Old Lyme Reopens for Sales

The Nearly New Shop of Saint Ann’s Parish.

OLD LYME — The Nearly New Shop of Saint Ann’s Parish will start accepting consignments again Monday, June 22. The Shop will be open every day next week through Friday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Shop will reopen for sales starting Wednesday, July 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Henceforward, it will be open every Tuesdays through Saturdays at the same time.

Clothes for consignment should be clean, wrinkle free, and on hangers. Forms should be filled out with item detail or can be provided at the time of your visit.

All customers are reminded that properly worn face masks must be worn at all times while visiting the Nearly New Shop and similarly social distancing must be practiced at all times.

The Shop is located  at 70 Shore Rd. (corner of Shore and Mile Creek Rd’s.)

The Shop management says, “We are beyond excited to be opening our doors once again. Although you won’t be able to see our smiles when you walk in the door, know we’ll be grinning ear to ear under our masks!”


Sound View’s Traditional July 4 Parade Cancelled, Also No Beach Summer Concerts In Old Lyme This Year

Cheerfully leading a previous year’s Independence Day parade through the streets of Sound View in Old Lyme was the ever-smiling Joann Leishing. Sadly, there will be no parade his year.

OLD LYME — Frank Pappalardo, who serves as Sound View Commission Chairman, told LymeLine in an email yesterday, “The Sound View Commission has canceled their events and activities for this summer, including the concert series.”

He added, “The Sound View Beach Association (SVBA) has cancelled the Independence Day Parade for this year, other events are pending.”

Asked about all the other summer happenings that the SVBA traditionally hosts, SVBA President Gail Fuller responded in an email, “We are still not sure what we’re doing with our other  activities yet.,” noting that she would keep LymeLine posted, “as soon as I know what we’re doing.”


Lyme’s Traditional Fourth of July Parade Cannot be Held This Year Due to COVID-19 Crowd Size Restrictions

Lyme’s Fourth of July parade will not take place this year. File photo from a previous parade by Michele Dickey.

LYME — At their meeting Monday afternoon, the Lyme Board of Selectmen discussed whether the Fourth of July parade, which traditionally takes place on Cove Rd., should be held this year. First Selectman Steve Mattson stressed “It is not a Town of Lyme function,” but rather, “A community function … whoever shows up walks, rides or whatever.”

Mattson said, “It is my opinion that the event should not be held this year.” Selectman John Kiker agreed, saying, “I just think it’s too soon,” and Selectman Parker Lord added, “I agree it’s the thing to do.”

In addition, recognizing the revised restrictions imposed by Governor Lamont in terms of the size of public gatherings, the Town has now posted the following announcement on their website advising residents, “The traditional Cove Road July 4th Parade cannot be held this year, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order #7TT, which prohibits public gatherings of more than 25 people during this phase of the pandemic.”


Winners of Florence Griswold Garden Raffle to be Announced Today on Facebook Live

OLD LYME — The Florence Griswold Museum’s first-ever Garden Raffle will be drawn today, Tuesday, June 30, at noon in a Facebook Live event.

This event arose because the annual Garden Luncheon had to be cancelled this year due the Coronavirus situation. The luncheon is traditionally not only a wonderful celebration of everything blooming but also a vitally important fundraiser that supports the care and upkeep of the Museum’s historic landscape.

The prizes range from beautiful artwork to a 12-month floral subscription to a fascinator hat. Only 250 tickets were offered for sale at $100 per tickets and they sold out in just three weeks!

You do not need a Facebook account to see the raffle drawn live today (click here to see it), but if you have one, you can sign up here in advance to invite friends and be reminded of the event

If you would like to support the upkeep of the Museum grounds and gardens at any amount, click here to donate to the fund.


Saint Ann’s Parish in Old Lyme Hosts Drive-Thru ‘Can-a-Thon’ This Morning to Benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens

OLD LYME — Saint Ann’s Parish will collect canned goods and non-perishables next Sunday, June 28, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the church parking lot at 82 Shore Rd./ Rte. 156 in Old Lyme. A drive-thru with attendants to collect groceries will make this a safe, quick and easy way to help neighbors in need. All the groceries collected will be donated to Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries (SSKP.)

In a press release, Mac Mummert, Senior Warden of Saint Ann’s Parish, explains the need for this Food is Good, Share It event in these words ,“Our community needs your help. Food insecurity has been heightened by the pandemic and Saint Ann’s Parish is striving to help our local organizations try to meet the increased need.”

She adds, “Our effort to serve our community with a Can-A-Thon puts our church mission into practice. We are perfectly located to be a drive-thru collection center for the local SSKP. Please help us to help them by bringing canned goods or non-perishables.

The SSKP, located in Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Old Lyme and East Lyme, provide food for three meals a day for three days for those who attend and those in their households.

Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries meal sites are located in Centerbrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester, Old Saybrook, Clinton, Old Lyme and Westbrook. Hot nutritious meals are prepared by volunteers and served family style. Those in need are welcome to attend any of the meal sites.

Saint Ann’s will be collecting the following non-perishable foods to donate to the SSKP in Old Lyme. Recommended donations include: 

  • tuna (canned in water)
  • chicken (canned in water)
  • canned beef stews
  • beans (dry or canned in water)
  • baked beans
  • canned chili
  • peanut butter
  • pork and beans
  • rice
  • canned pastas
  • dry noodles and pastas
  • boxed macaroni and cheese
  • cereals
  • shredded wheat
  • oatmeal
  • corn muffin and pancake mix
  • whole-grain crackers
  • graham crackers
  • flour 

Editor’s Notes: i) For more information on SSKP, visit www.shorelinesoupkitchens.org 

ii) Saint Ann’s is an Episcopal parish in Old Lyme, CT that invites and welcomes all visitors to this program. Our mission is to enrich the community and introduce visitors to the parish. Saint Ann’s is located at 82 Shore Rd (Rte. 156), two miles off I-95, Exit 70. Parking is adjacent to the church.

For information about the parish, contact Kathy Rowe at 860-434- 1621, via email at office@saintannsoldlyme.org, or visit Saint Ann’s online at www.saintannsoldlyme.org.


Celebrate CT Historic Gardens Day Today at 15 Sites Throughout State, Including Florence Griswold Museum

Stroll through the Florence Griswold Museum’s stunning historic gardens tomorrow on CT Historic Gardens Day.

OLD LYME — Connecticut’s Historic Gardens Day will be held from 12 to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday, June 28, at various locations around the state including the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.

Connecticut’s Historic Gardens is comprised of 15 historic gardens located throughout the state. Member sites, which offer visitors an opportunity to explore a variety of garden styles and time periods, will host special events and activities during the day to celebrate their gardens.

Contemporary artist Leif Nilsson will demonstrate and discuss his artistic process during CT Historic Gardens Day tomorrow at the Florence Griswold Museum.

Tomorrow, on Miss Florence’s grounds and gardens in Old Lyme, watch as contemporary artist Leif Nilsson continues the creative tradition while explaining his process.

Stroll the Museum’s 12 acres along the Lieutenant River featuring historic gardens and Artists’ Trail.  Gardens Coordinator Linda Turner will be on hand to answer questions.

Note that no buildings will be open during the day, and there will be no restrooms available. In case of rain, the event is cancelled.

Upon arrival, follow signs and check in at the Landscape Center. Wear your mask and practice physical distancing.

Download Visitor and Garden Guides prior to your arrival.

In addition to the Florence Griswold Museum, participating locations include: Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden, Bethlehem; Butler-McCook House, Hartford; Glebe House Museum & the Gertrude Jekyll Garden, Woodbury; Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford; Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington; Osborne Homestead Museum & Kellogg Environmental Center, Derby; Phelps-Hatheway House, Suffield; Promisek at Three Rivers Farm, Bridgewater; Roseland Cottage, Woodstock; the Stanley Whitman House, Farmington; and the Thankful Arnold Museum in Haddam.

Visit www.cthistoricgardens.org or individual member websites to find out what each garden is offering.


Local State Legislators Host Food Drive Today for Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries

OLD LYME — State Sen. Paul Formica (R- 20th) and State Rep. Devin Carney (R- 23rd) will host a Food Drive to benefit Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries Saturday, June 27, at the Old Lyme Marketplace in front of Best Cleaners from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you are unable to make the event but would like to connect with the representative or senator, call Rep. Carney’s State Capitol office at 800-842-1423 or Sen. Formica’s Senate office at 800-842-1421.



Neviaser “Very Pleased” with Governor’s Plan to Reopen All CT Schools in Fall 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

OLD LYME — Asked his reaction to Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona’s announcement yesterday that all schools statewide should plan to reopen to all students in the fall of 2020, Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser told LymeLine exclusively by phone this morning that he is “very pleased with the Governor’s plan.”

The plan calls for mandatory mask-wearing by students and staff with certain exceptions, cohorting so that teams function independently as much as possible, and social distancing combined with heightened health and safety protocols.

The full press release from the Governor’s office is published in its entirety below.

Neviaser said, “I’m especially glad to see that they’re giving local flexibility … one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to schools … schools are different sizes, have different populations … or to put it another way, we’re different from Old Saybrook and East Lyme … and Hartford.”

Regarding next steps, Neviaser explained, “We have two committees already in place that have been anxiously awaiting this guidance.” He said that apart from the full return to school option, they have been looking into “remote learning” and also “a hybrid model with students coming into school on alternate days.”

Now the committees will work intensively to determine the optimum ways to implement the Governor’s plans specifically for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. Neviaser said, “Ideally, we’ll get everyone back [to school] in a way that follows all the guidelines to keeps students and staff safe.” He added that LOL Schools will be working with the local health departments to ensure they comply with all health and safety guidelines.

Asked whether he thought the fall sports program would take place, Neviaser responded, “We intend to [have it in place] … the CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) does too [for all schools in the conference] — we just don’t have any details yet.”

Finally, Neviaser noted that he does not know yet whether LOL Schools will have to supply masks to students and faculty, if the state will supply them or if students and faculty will be required to supply their own. Indicating he awaits further direction on that, he said that in the meantime, “I just have no idea.”

The following is the full press release issued by Governor Ned Lamont’s office yesterday, June 25:  Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona announced details yesterday of the framework to allow all students – in all school districts statewide – the opportunity to have access to in-school, full-time instruction at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, as long as public health data continues to support this model.

While Connecticut has determined reopening schools for in-person instruction can be achieved based upon the state’s successful COVID-19 containment efforts, this model will be supported with more intensive mitigation strategies and specific monitoring, containment, and class cancellation plans.

“While we’ve made good strides to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Connecticut, the virus hasn’t gone away and we need to do what we can to keep students and staff safe while also doing our best to provide our young people with access to an education that prepares them for the future,” Governor Lamont said.

He continued, “Working with public health and medical experts, and with the support of our educators, we are preparing a number of steps that protect the health and safety of everyone who makes contact with our school system.”

In assessing the approach to a required operating model, the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) considered input from school representatives, educators, families, students, educational stakeholders, advocacy organizations, and union representatives. The department conducted a review of nationally and globally published school reopening plans. The importance of access to in-person schooling rose as a priority related to educational opportunities, safety, wellbeing, and social-emotional learning.

“This pandemic represents more than a virus, it represents an historic disruption to our school communities and created barriers to how we best deliver academic and non-academic supports in a way that is accessible, equitable, and meaningful,” Commissioner Cardona said.

“Addressing the educational setbacks and the social-emotional toll caused by COVID-19 is best addressed by maximizing in-person instructional time,” noted Cardona, adding, “In developing this plan, we worked in close consultation with public health officials to prioritize the safety of our school communities and, just as intensively, engaged students, parents, and educators for their critical input. We stand with our districts, educators and families as we commit to making 2020-21 a year devoted to creativity, innovation, courage, and reimagining education together.”

In addition to the framework released today, SDE plans to release a more detailed guidance document next week that will provide more comprehensive information for school districts.

**DownloadExecutive summary of Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning
**DownloadPresentation on Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning

Framework for Connecticut Schools During the 2020-21 Academic Year
Guiding Principles

As Connecticut schools plan to reopen, the guidance and considerations outlined in this framework are grounded in six guiding principles:

  1. Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
  2. Allowing all students the opportunity to return into the classrooms full time starting in the fall;
  3. Monitoring the school populations and, when necessary, potentially cancelling classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
  4. Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities who are emerging from this historic disruption;
  5. Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators and staff; and
  6. Factoring into decisions about reopening the challenges to the physical safety and social-emotional well-being of our students when they are not in school.

These guiding principles require all districts to develop their plans with a certain level of consistency, however they retain wide discretion in implementing approaches to reopening given unique local considerations. School districts must balance their planning with contingency plans to provide robust, blended learning or remote learning for all grades in the event that a school, district, or region has to cancel or limit in-person classes due to health precautions.

Main Operational Considerations


  • Districts should emphasize grouping students by the same class/group of students and teacher (into a cohort) so each team functions independently as much as possible. Consider this methodology by grade levels.
  • Placing students in cohorts is strongly encouraged for grades K-8, and encouraged where feasible for grades 9-12.

Social Distancing and Facilities

  • Review building space and reconfigure available classroom space, such as gymnasiums and auditoriums, to maximize social distancing, consistent with public health guidelines in place at that time.


  • Districts should plan for buses to operate close to capacity with heightened health and safety protocols, including requiring all students and operators wear face coverings.
  • Plans must be developed to activate increased social distancing protocols based upon community spread.

Face Coverings

  • All staff and students will be expected to wear a protective face covering or face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth when inside the school building, except for certain exceptions including when teachers are providing instruction.

Ensuring Equity and Access

  • Equitable access to education is a top priority that supports a full-time in-school model by mitigating any barriers to education or opportunity gaps that increased during the pandemic. Efforts to support equity, close the opportunity gap, and provide a wide range of support for students in the state is best achieved with in-person schooling opportunities for all ages.
  • Districts should identify gaps and develop action plans for reopening that specifically address inclusion, equity, and access for all learners with strategies and clearly defined action steps.

Old Lyme Confirms 20th Case of COVID-19, Fatalities Remain at Two; No Change in Lyme

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

OLD LYME/LYME — Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold confirmed to LymeLine by text message yesterday morning, Thursday, June 25, that one new case of COVID-19 has been reported in Old Lyme. This additional confirmed case is a 21-year-old male.

There are now 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme plus two fatalities.

To demonstrate the growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme, the table below is a summary of the cases that LymeLine.com has reported since March 31 when the first case was announced and also includes both fatalities.

DateCumulative no. of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Old Lyme
March 311
April 44
April 96
April 107
April 1510
April 1812
April 2514
May 115
May 1517
May 2618
June 819
June 1020
June 1421
June 2222
June 2423

Details of all Old Lyme’s confirmed cases to date are now as follows:

  • 64-year-old female
  • 21-year-old female
  • 27-year-old male
  • 53-year-old female
  • 61-year-old female
  • 29-year-old female
  • 40-year-old male
  • 53-year-old male
  • 60-year-old female
  • 48-year-old male
  • 85-year-old female
  • 95-year-old female
  • 20-year-old female
  • 43-year-old female
  • 48-year-old female
  • 70-year-old male
  • 67-year-old male
  • 68-year-old female
  • 73-year-old male
  • 21-year-old male

The fatalities, which are in addition to the confirmed cases listed above, were a 61-year-old female and an 83-year-old-male.

Griswold has previously noted that the 21-year-old female with a confirmed case was tested in Florida, but used an Old Lyme address although she does not live here. Because she gave the Old Lyme address, Griswold said that Ledge Light Health District must report her as an Old Lyme resident.

Lyme’s first and only confirmed case was a 34-year-old male.


Lyme Land Trust Hosts Annual Meeting This Evening Via Zoom

LYME — The Lyme Land Conservation Trust will host its Annual Meeting virtually via Zoom, Friday, June 26, at 6 p.m.

The agenda is as follows:
Welcome – Kristina White
Overview of Year – John Pritchard
Presentation of By-laws revisions and vote – Dan Hulseberg
Re-election of Board Members – Ann Rich
Presentation of Volunteer of the Year – Mal Karwoski
The Zoom meeting details are:
Website: https://zoom.usMeeting ID: 863 9314 1385
Password: 517285
To dial in with phone: +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Death of Oliver “Michael” Birch of Old Lyme Announced; World Traveler, Award-Winning Film Maker

Oliver “Michael” Birch, world traveler, award winning film maker, loving husband, father and grandfather died peacefully at his home in Old Lyme Connecticut on June 23, 2020. Michael immigrated after the War, from the UK to Canada, bravely crossing the North Sea in winter, with his very pregnant first wife. The young family settled in Montreal where Michael joined the prestigious National Film Board of Canada. It was there Michael caught the eye of Adlai Stevenson II, who sponsored Michael & family to America. Michael joined the famed Encyclopedia Britannica Films, making his ground breaking educational films, for the time. Notably …

Visit this link to read the full obituary published on the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home website.