December 4, 2020

Support the Lyme-Old Lyme HS Class of 2021’s Safe Grad Party! Eat From/Dine at Teddy’s Pizza, Thursday

pizzaSupport the Safe Grad Party for the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2021 by eating at or buying take-out, Thursday, Dec. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Teddy’s Old Lyme Pizza Palace, 264 Shore Rd. in Old Lyme.

The restaurant is donating part of the proceeds for the entire day, eat-in or take-out, to the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2021 Safe Grad Party fund.

To place your order or for more information, call 860-434-1517.

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Moves to Fully Remote Learning due to New COVID Cases, Plans to Reopen Dec. 7

Lyme-Old Lyme High School is moving to a fully remote learning model for week commencing Nov. 30.

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser sent out an email Friday afternoon to faculty, staff, students and parents saying, ” Over the last two days we have become aware of two other probable cases of COVID-19 at Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS.)”

He continued, “As such, LOLHS will move to a full remote learning model beginning Monday, Nov. 30, and will plan to resume full in person learning on Monday, Dec. 7.

 

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After Two COVID Cases Identifed at Lyme-Old Lyme HS, One at Mile Creek, Contact Tracing Completed; Both Schools Will Reopen Monday

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser informed parents by email Tuesday afternoon that, subsequent to two positive COVID-19 cases being identified at Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) Monday, the “contact tracing protocol” has now been completed.

As a result he stated, “All members of our school community who must quarantine,” have been notified and the high school, “… is currently scheduled to return to full in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 30.”

Lyme-Old Lyme High School had moved to remote learning for Tuesday, Nov. 24, since there was insufficient time Monday to complete contact tracing after the cases were identified.

Neviaser added, “Today [Tuesday] we were informed of a positive case of COVID-19 at Mile Creek School. We were able to complete our contact tracing in that situation and all individuals who must quarantine have been notified.”

He announced in the email that, “Mile Creek will also continue with full in-person learning,” Monday, Nov. 30.

Stressing, “Containment of this virus will continue to require us all to follow best practices of mask-wearing, hand washing/sanitizing, staying home when sick, and physical distancing, Neviaser emphasized, “Everyone needs to do their part so we can continue to provide a safe learning environment for our students.”

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Moves Temporarily to Full Remote Schedule Today Due to COVID Cases

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser. (File photo)

Reopening Depends on Results After Protocols Completed

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser announced Monday in an email to faculty, staff, students and parents that on Tuesday, Nov. 24, “Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) will temporarily move to a full remote learning model.  All other schools will remain open for full in person learning.”

Neviaser stated, “This comes as a result of a report of one positive case and one suspected case of COVID-19 at LOLHS.”

He explained that, “Due to the timing of our receipt of this report, we cannot complete our contact tracing before school is scheduled to open tomorrow,” adding, “Once we have completed that protocol, we will determine when we can return to full in person learning at LOLHS.”

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education Meets Twice Wednesday Evening

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser. (File photo)

OLD LYME — The Region 18 Board of Education meets tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 4) evening at 7 p.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room at Center School in Old Lyme for its regular monthly meeting. The meeting will be live-streamed at this link.  The agenda for the meeting is at this link.

This meeting will be preceded by a Special Meeting in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School Auditorium at 6 p.m. at which the needs and drivers of the 2021-2022 District Budget will be reviewed and discussed with the boards of finance and selectmen, school administration, and parent leadership.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme HS Receives 2020 ‘College Success Award’ from GreatSchools.org

Lyme-Old Lyme High School, which has just received a prestigious College Success Award from GreatSchools.org, is pictured above.

OLD LYME –  Updated Oct. 29, 8:13pm: Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) has received a prestigious College Success Award from GreatSchools.org.

Launched in 2018, the College Success Award honors schools that excel in ensuring students prepare for college, enroll in college, and succeed once they get there.

This year, LOLHS is among 2,158 award-winning schools from 29 states, which have demonstrated a successful track record of graduating students, who later enroll in two- or four-year college. These students are ready for college-level coursework, and then persist onto their second year, according to available data from each state.

Lyme-Old Lyme High School is one of 52 schools in Connecticut to receive this year’s College Success Award.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser commented exclusively to LymeLine.com, “We are committed to ensuring our students are prepared for whatever path they choose after high school,” adding, “I’m proud of our teachers, administrators, and staff for their dedication to providing the best education for our students.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten the physical and financial health of the nation, LOLHS is endeavoring to ensure students graduate with the skills and resources to succeed as postsecondary scholars and productive citizens. College- and career-ready graduates are critical to fueling the U.S. economy, as 70 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary degree by 2027.

“We applaud Lyme-Old Lyme High School for prioritizing high-quality public education, putting students on the path to bright futures,” said Jon Deane, CEO of GreatSchools.org.

Deane continued, “Over the past year, students, parents, teachers, and communities have relied on one another like never before. We congratulate and thank all of these individuals at Lyme-Old Lyme High School for their unwavering pursuit of college success for all students.”

Editor’s Note: i) This article is based on a press release received from Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.
ii) GreatSchools.org is the leading national nonprofit providing parents with essential information to improve educational opportunities for their child. 

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The Country School Hosts Virtual Open House

Fifth grade lessons at The Country School continue outdoors with teachers Kerri Kelly and Dan Kollmer. The school hosts a Virtual Open House, Oct. 26.

MADISON, CTThe Country School (TCS) is hosting a Virtual Open House on Monday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Register to meet engaged students and dynamic teachers. Learn about the school’s rigorous academic program;  Signature Programs of STEAM, Elmore Leadership, Global Citizenship, Outdoor Education, and Public Speaking; rich offerings in the arts and athletics; and TCS’s $15,000 65th Anniversary Merit Scholarship opportunity for students entering Grades 4-8.

Founded in 1955, The Country School serves students in Pre-School through Grade 8 on its 23-acre campus in Madison, Conn.

The Country School honors students’ creativity, sense of wonder, and intellectual curiosity. The school’s integrated curriculum aligns rigorous academics with a commitment to character and leadership development.

Learn more and register for the Oct. 26 Virtual Open House at www.thecountryschool.org.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Present Public Forum This Evening on Proposed Artificial Playing Surface

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools are proposing to build a synthetic turf playing field at the rear of the high school. Photo courtesy of Milone & MacBroom.

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED 10/21: Zoom link now added: Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools will present a Public Forum on their proposed artificial playing surface, Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m.

The forum will be held via a Zoom Virtual Meeting at this link:
Meeting URL: https://region18.zoom.us/j/83122658732
Meeting ID: 831 2265 8732

This meeting is virtual with no in-person attendance.

Community members are encouraged to attend the public forum on the proposed artificial playing surface on the LOL Schools’ main campus.

The agenda includes a brief overview of the project, a presentation by the engineering and design firm working on the proposed project, followed by questions from attendees.

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Jon Goss is Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Teacher of the Year, Ray Belval is Employee of the Year

Tech-Ed teacher Jonathan Goss is the 2020-21 Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Teacher of the Year.

OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education recognized the 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year at their regular monthly meeting held Wednesday evening, Oct. 7, at Center School.

Jonathan Goss is Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Teacher of the Year. In his 24 years of teaching Tech-Ed at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, Goss has continually reimagined the curriculum. Classes such as alternative energy, outboard motors, and electrical wiring ensure students learn skills that will be of value in the future.

Goss teaches his students how to use sophisticated machinery and tools, as well as to be safe and to respect the equipment. Goss also co-leads the award-winning Techno Ticks robotics team.

Known for his dedication to his work, Goss has a remarkable ability to connect with each student, holding them to the highest standards. His quiet demeanor, unflappable character and thoughtful approach are admired and respected by colleagues and students alike.

Campus Security member Ray Belval is Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Employee of the Year.

Ray Belval, a member of Region 18 Campus Security, is Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Employee of the Year. Belval joined the district in 2019 quickly becoming indispensable. Belval is known for his cheery disposition, willingness to jump in wherever needed, and ability to bring new ideas to the table.

Belval was instrumental in implementing the Stop the Bleed program across all schools. This program trained our teachers and older students how to identify and control life-threatening bleeding while waiting for emergency responders.

When Lyme-Old Lyme Schools were shut down in March, Belval was an integral part of the success of the food distribution program. He helped to organize the set-up and warmly greeted people as they came by for food, seemingly knowing everyone’s name and always with a smile on his face.

Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, commented exclusively to LymeLine.com on the awards, saying, “We are fortunate to have such dedicated and talented staff and teachers in Region 18,” adding, “This year’s recipients are exceptional in what they do and are true assets to our school community.”

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Subscribe to Lyme-Old Lyme HS Athletics YouTube Channel to Watch LiveStreamed Games This Season


LYME/OLD LYME —
10/03 UPDATE: The Lyme Old Lyme High School Athletics YouTube channel now has 1,100 subscribers! Many thanks to all the LymeLine readers who subscribed and supported the LOLHS athletes in this way.

Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools are permitting spectators at home sports games this season but several other schools are not. Consequently, the LOL Schools Athletic Department is trying to find a way to live-stream games so that students, parents, friends and supporters of any team can watch a game that is being played at a school where spectators are not permitted.The Athletic Department has determined the best way to do this is via YouTube, but in order to be able to livestream from an i-Pad or i-Phone at any school other than LOL High School, YouTube requires a minimum of 1,000 subscribers to your YouTube channel.

The LOL Schools Athletic Department is therefore asking all those interested in watching LOL athletic games this season via a live-stream on YouTube to subscribe to the Lyme Old Lyme High School Athletics YouTube channel at this link.

As at publication time, the channel has 489 subscribers — let’s help them get to the 1,000 they need!
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Old Lyme Zoning Delays Decision on LOL Schools’ Proposed Artificial Athletic Field Pending Drainage Review, ‘It’s All About Drainage’ (Cable)

This image, courtesy of Milone & MacBroom, shows the current field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School (left) and the proposed synthetic turf field (right.)

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Zoning Commission listened patiently in their meeting held Monday evening via Zoom to a presentation by representatives from Milone & Macbroom on the proposed synthetic turf multi-purpose field, which Lyme-Old Lyme Schools plan to build to the rear of Lyme-Old Lyme High School. The first part of the meeting constituted a Public Hearing for the project.

The new field, priced at approximately $2.5 million, will be built on top of the existing geothermal system and the presenters agreed the selected contractor would have to perform, “Pre-construction tests to make sure the the geothermal system isn’t compromised.”

They also detailed how, “The premise is that water is going completely through the carpet [the synthetic turf]” and then drained away through a vast system of pipes.

Asked whether there was any danger of pollution from the drained water, the presenter replied, “Because of the way we design the system, the water running off is clearer than the rain going in,” adding, “There’s chemicals in there, but the materials do not ever leach out. We don’t see any environmental impacts.”

He noted that the use of recycled tires for the production of synthetic turf also, “Saves tires going into landfills.”

Asked by commission member Jane Marsh how long the artificial field could be expected to last, the presenter responded, “Eight years is the expected life … I’ve seen up to 14 years. He concluded, “The fields should easily last 12 years.”

When the time comes to replace the field, the presenter explained, “All the infrastructure below the turf [the geothermal system] will remain. Just the turf will be replaced.”

There were no questions or comments from the public and so the commission voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing.

The commission then went on to discuss the project as an item of business in their regular monthly meeting and that was when things took an unexpected turn. Long-term commission member Jane Cable stated, “I don’t feel competent to evaluate the drainage. This should automatically have gone to Tom [Metcalf – the Town Engineer.]”

Commission member Maria Martinez agreed with Cable saying, “We should do due diligence and double-check.”

Cable said pragmatically, “It’s all about drainage.”

Marsh added, “My breath is being taken away by the cost of this thing,” but Martinez reminded her that the commission’s job is not to consider the cost of the project but rather, “We have to approve [its] safety.”

Members of the commission concurred that the Old Lyme Inland Wetlands Commission had already approved the project but with a condition relating to the permeability of the walkway. They requested that Land Use Coordinator Dan Bourret should send the plans to Metcalf for his review, to which Bourret agreed.

Cable then proposed a motion, “… that we put our decision off to next month to get the review from Tom.” The motion to continue the discussion to next month’s meeting was unanimous.

Editor’s Note: Visit this link for more information about the proposed synthetic turf field, 

 

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Old Lyme Zoning to Discuss Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Proposal for Synthetic Turf Field Tonight

This playing field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School is the proposed site of the turf field. This project will be discussed at the Old Lyme Zoning Commission meeting this evening.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Zoning Commission meets this evening via Webex at 6:30 p.m. for its regular monthly meeting. Agenda items include a Public Hearing regarding a proposal to change one of the playing fields on the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools campus on Lyme St. from manicured lawn to synthetic turf.

A Special Permit Application has been submitted, “to permit proposed field improvement, which will modify the playing geometry and playing surface from manicured lawn to synthetic turf, at the Lyme-Old Lyme Regional High School located at 69 Lyme Street.”

After the Public Hearing, the application will then be discussed by the Commission during their regular meeting.

If you wish to join the meeting via Webex, use the following link: https://oldlymect.webex.com/oldlymect/j.php?MTID=m992a8cacca14fba3609037  with meeting number (access code): 173 919 2428 and password: GJwFDpmh694.

If you wish to join the meeting by phone, dial+1-408-418-9388.

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Lyme, Old Lyme Schools Celebrate a Successful (Masked) Start to School

Don Gerber of Lyme looks wistfully at the bus heading off to Lyme-Old Lyme Schools with his grandson and daughter aboard. Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

LYME-OLD LYME — It was the first day of the new school year for Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools yesterday although, due to the COVID-19 situation, parents had the option to keep their children home and have them follow a virtual program of learning. “We are excited to welcome our students back both in our classrooms or from their homes,” said Ian Neviaser, Superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in a press release.

There was a definite air of anticipation for all the students as they entered their respective schools again for the first time since March 13, and in the end, only 10 percent of the 1,300-strong Pre-K through Grade 12 student body opted to stay home for their schooling. That percentage was achieved despite enrollment increasing this year, which had necessitated the addition of an additional Pre-K class; new students had also joined LOL Schools at every grade level.

Frequent cleaning, physical distancing and additional protocols are in place throughout all the schools. Meanwhile, social and emotional health is being emphasized, particularly in the first weeks of school as students adjust to a new normal.

“This year may look different, but what hasn’t changed is the dedication and commitment of our teachers, students and staff,” said Neviaser in the press release. Perhaps the most visible difference is that all administrators, staff, faculty members, and students must wear masks throughout the day … including when reading to students at Mile Creek School (see photo above) …

… or in the Center School gym (see photo above), where Tim Gavin is instructing Pre-Kindergartners during a physical education class.

Masks are now worn throughout the school day in elementary school (see photo above) …

… in middle school (see photo above) …

… and even at recess!

Photo by Michelle Tappett.

And then it was time to board the bus home, in this case (see photo above) from Lyme School.

Asked how the first day went, Neviaser told LymeLine.com exclusively, “We had a great first day and feedback from staff has been incredibly positive. Students did a great job of wearing masks and following new rules.”

Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

He added, “Dismissal was a little bumpy with some traffic issues, but we are looking at ways to improve the process.”

These two photos (above and below) are Elliot (age 14) and his sister Anna (age 10) of Lyme, grandchildren of Don Gerber (see first photo), and children of Emily Gerber Bjornberg and Jason Bjornberg.

Photo by Emily Gerber Bjornberg.

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Reopen to All Students , ‘We are Excited About the Return of our Students’ (Neviaser)

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser. (File photo)

LYME/OLD LYME — A new school year starts Tuesday for all students resident in Lyme and Old Lyme, who have chosen to return to Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools.

Administration, faculty and non-certified staff, however, returned to work last Monday, Aug. 24, to spend the following six days familiarizing themselves with all the new protocols and procedures that have been implemented in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Asked how the week of preparation had gone overall, LOL Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser wrote in an email, “It was a very busy but very successful week of training and preparing for a safe reopening of school.”

He added, “In addition to safety preparations, staff spent time adjusting curriculum and lessons to address the unanticipated instructional changes from last spring.”

Some of the changes being introduced involve mandatory mask-wearing by all students, regardless of grade — this therefore now includes Pre-Kindergarten students. Students and staff must provide their own masks, but if they arrive without a proper mask, one will be provided for use that day. The student or staff member will then be expected to return with an approved mask on the following school day.

Anyone — including members of the public, as well as parents and caregivers — who enters any of the LOL School buildings is also required to wear a mask.

In a letter explaining the Reopening Plan for LOL Schools sent out Aug. 17, Neviaser states, “Our mask guidance is based on the CDC face covering guidelines but is more stringent in that all masks must cover the nose, mouth, and chin area. Bandanas, gators, balaclavas, buffs, masks with one-way valves or vents, or any other face covering that does not meet the administration’s determination of appropriateness are prohibited.”

He also clarifies that, “All students PK-12, all staff members, and anyone who enters any of our buildings must also utilize our self-screening tool prior to arrival each day.” The self-screening tool is available on the reopening page of the LOL Schools’ website.”

There are also new procedures for school buses, use of which Neviaser has previously advised is now, “discouraged, but not prohibited,” physical distancing and cohorting.

Neviaser said in an email to LymeLine.com that the faculty and staff had responded positively throughout the week of Professional Development to all the changes, noting, “The staff is very much focused and committed to adhering to the new protocols and procedures that will allow all building occupants to remain safe.”

Parents were able to opt out of sending their children back to school but were obliged to confirm that by Aug. 21. Neviaser said in an earlier conversation that around 90 percent of students would be returning to in-school instruction. He was  enthusiastic about welcoming students back to school on Sept. 1, saying, “We are excited about the return of our students and look forward to a safe reopening on Tuesday.”

One of the most common questions being raised by parents is what happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19. Neviaser responds in the Reopening Plan, “… the answer is that each case will be addressed based on the details of the individual situation, contact tracing results, and the recommendation of Ledge Light Health District.”

He added in his Aug. 29 email to LymeLine.com, “We will continue to closely monitor health data and our mitigation strategies and adapt as needed to ensure a healthy and productive learning environment.”

Regarding the athletic program, which has been subject to frequent — and often frustrating — change by the Connecticut Interscholastic Conference (CIAC), Neviaser commented, “It is my hope that very soon the DPH (Department of Public Health) and the CIAC can collaborate and agree on a strategy to ensure a safe athletic experience for all of our student athletes.”

The current situation is that conditioning was permitted to begin Aug. 24, in, “Cohorts no larger than 10, through Sept. 20,” then a decision will be made Sept. 21 whether “full team practices” can commence at that time dependent on the seven-day average percentage of COVID-19 cases against certain thresholds. Games, which currently include football and volleyball, will not start before Oct. 1.

The key to success in what Neviaser describes as this “historic” year is, in his words, “flexibility.” He states in the Reopening Plan, “As the guidance we receive is constantly being updated and/or revised, we ask for your patience in allowing us to make decisions based on the best interests of our students and staff … and to adapt to new information and practices that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

 

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CIAC Permits Conditioning for Fall Sports to Resume

CHESHIRE/LYME/OLD LYME — Connecticut’s governing body for school sports, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), issued a statement yesterday evening saying that after, “… positive discussions with the Connecticut Department of Public Health [DPH], the CIAC Board of Control voted at its Sunday meeting to restart conditioning for all fall sports.”

The CIAC had suspended conditioning Aug. 14 .

The statement added, “On Saturday, August 29, schools may begin non-contact sport specific skill work,” but specified, “Both conditioning and skill work are to take part in small cohorts in adherence with guidance from the National Federation of State High School Associations and the DPH.”

Conducting conditioning and sport specific skill work as non-contact and in small cohorts is classified as low risk regardless of the sport.

Significantly, the statement notes, “The Board of Control has determined that any fall sport that is cancelled will not be played at a later time during the 2020-2021 school year,” stressing, “… the plan will remain fluid.”

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Neviaser Supports CIAC Decision to ‘Pause’ In-person Interscholastic Sports Activity Until Aug. 24

The CIAC have mandated a ‘pause’ in all sports under their jurisdiction until Aug. 24.

LYME/OLD LYME/STATEWIDE — 8/21 UPDATE: The CIAC issued a statement today, Aug. 21, which says in part, ” The CIAC will delay the first date for all fall sports to Saturday, August 29, 2020.” Most other aspects of fall sports remain undecided at this point.

The full statement reads as follows:

 The CIAC Board of Control met this morning to review last night’s discussion with the DPH and establish a timeline for decisions on the start of fall sports.

The CIAC has requested that the DPH consider allowing our member schools to resume the non-contact conditioning workouts which they have been conducting since July 6, 2020 as early as Monday. Additionally, the CIAC understands that, at today’s ReOpen CT Rules Committee meeting, consideration will be given to the inconsistent guidance issued for CIAC interscholastic athletics versus non-CIAC youth sport opportunities. The CIAC and the DPH will continue our collaborative work once an update from those discussions is available, either later today or over the weekend.

For our member schools’ planning purposes, the CIAC Board of Control has established the following timeline:

  • The CIAC Board of Control will meet again at 7:00PM Sunday. 

  • The CIAC Board of Control will submit modified fall sport plan options to the DPH for consideration, which it has indicated it would welcome for review. 

  • The CIAC will delay the first date for all fall sports to Saturday, August 29, 2020. 

This timeline will allow the DPH adequate time to consider CIAC’s revised fall sports plans, which it will submit early next week, and athletic directors the time necessary to begin a sports season. The CIAC will update member schools on the return to conditioning workouts as soon as more information becomes available. 

(From the previous CIAC statement) On Friday, Aug. 14, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) Board of Control convened and extended an invitation to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) to meet in the coming week to discuss its recommendations for interscholastic athletics.

Based on DPH recommendations, the board took the action to pause all in-person interscholastic fall sport activity including conditioning programs which are already underway until Monday, Aug. 24.

The CIAC will look to emphasize the value of the integration of athletics with the return to education and concerns of equity and consistency between interscholastic athletics and other athletic opportunities.

Coaches are encouraged to promote virtual safe contact and conditioning with their athletes during the pause so as to not lose the conditioning gains and socialization benefits made during the summer.

Asked to comment on this mandated pause in sports activity, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser said, “We support the CIAC’s decision to pause the beginning of the fall sports season in order to ensure a safe playing environment for all student athletes.  We will follow forthcoming guidance once the CIAC has consulted with the DPH to provide such to all schools in CT.  We look forward to a safe return to the playing fields and courts for all of our student athletes.”

 

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Neviaser Confirms Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Will Reopen Fully in Fall, Assuming No Change in COVID Count; Parent Survey Indicates Overwhelming Support

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Curriculum Director Michelle Dean responds to a question during Wednesday evening’s ‘Community Conversation.’

LYME/OLD LYME — “We are not planning to go to a hybrid plan.”

That was Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser’s response when asked Wednesday evening if LOL Schools were going to change their reopening plans for the fall in light of Governor Lamont’s recent decision no longer to mandate that schools in Connecticut must fully reopen in the fall. This change of heart by Lamont allows the option for schools to implement hybrid plans (a combination of in-school and remote learning.)

Neviaser spoke to LymeLine by phone after moderating the first of two ‘Community Conversations’ hosted by LOL Schools in which parents were able to discuss reopening plans with key members of school administration and faculty in a virtual Zoom event. He stressed during the ‘Community Conversation’ and while talking to LymeLine that the plan to re-open schools fully, “Assumes the health data remains the same.”

If the local health department were to advise, “an increase in the number of cases in the school community,” or the community in general had occurred, the plan would be reviewed immediately with health department and might then be changed.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser moderates Wednesday’s ‘Community Conversation.’

Noting that it was some of the larger towns and school districts, which had been resistant to Lamont’s original plan to reopen all schools fully, Neviaser noted that because Lyme-Old Lyme is a smaller school district, “We can work safely [within the social distancing and other requirements.] We have the data to support it,” whereas larger schools do not have the space to accommodate them.

Neviaser told LymeLine that his “general take” on whether parents in Lyme and Old Lyme wanted to send their children back to school was that they were “very eager” to do so and therefore the district was “working hard to make that happen.” His opinion was based not only on what he heard during the ‘Community Conversation’ but also from the responses to the parent survey sent out after the district had submitted its Reopening Plan to the state.

That survey had yielded more than 350 responses from parents and approximately 90 percent of those indicated, “Families plan on sending their kids back to school,” said Neviaser.

Asked how the teaching staff felt about resuming to in-school teaching, Neviaser responded, “They’re very supportive,” adding, “More than 65 people worked on preparing the reopening plans for the district and the majority of those were staff members.”

Emphasizing again that, “The plan is flexible and will change if the health data changes, ” Neviaser concluded that as of now,”The general consensus is very positive. People recognize we all need to work together. The vast majority is being very supportive and helpful,” adding encouragingly,  “Really, they’re being wonderful about it.”

Editor’s Note: We talked at some length Wednesday evening with Superintendent Neviaser about how the LOL School sports program might look in the fall but he noted a plan was being sent out from the state within the next few days. The plan has just been received and so we will write an article incorporating that latest information shortly.

 

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Lyme-Old Lyme High, Middle Schools Announce Q4 Honor Rolls

Lyme-Old Lyme High School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 12:

Anabella Arias, Emily Balocca, Audrey Berry, Chloe Cahill, Madison Cann, Faith Caulkins, Emilia Cheesman, Elizabeth Cravinho, Maria Denya, Raymond Doll, Theodore Enoch, Araselys Farrell, Nicholas Fava, Jada Fuentes, Tanner Griffin, Sophia Griswold, Kamber Hamou, Lauren Huck, Jeffy Joshy, Caroline King, Renate Kuhn, Rachael Larson, Melissa Mauro, Thomas McCarthy, Ryan McTigue, Chandler Munson, Kyle Myers, Samantha Olson, Samantha Owen, Sofia Pecher-Kohout, Jenna Porter, Jared Ritchie, Colby Sides, Emily Speckhals, Evan St.Louis, Olivia Stack, Olivia Tetreault, Ryan Tetreault, Lydia Tinnerello, Sydney Trowbridge, Kiera Ulmer, Megan VanSteenbergen, Jackson Warren, Theodore Wayland, Katelyn Wells, Clair Wholean, Maggie Wisner, Conner Wyman, Katherine Zelmanow

Grade 11:

Kaylee Armenia, Sophia Arnold, Rachel Barretta, Michael Battalino, Maxwell Bauchmann, Ava Berry, Emma Boardman, Sadie Bowman, Kyuss Buono, Kate Cheney, Hunter Collins, Emerson Colwell, Megan Cravinho, Michael Cushman, Patrick Dagher, George Danes, Emily DeRoehn, Francette Donato, Corah Engdall, Leslie Farrell, Isabella Flagge, Sadie Frankel, Fiona Frederiks, Eveliz Fuentes, Jackson Goulding, Samantha Gray, Schuyler Greenho, Lillian Grethel, Emma Griffith, Regan Kaye, Paige Kolesnik, Avery Lacourciere, Grace Lathrop, Owen Macadam, Elle McAraw, Brendan McTigue, Brianna Melillo, Michael Milazzo, Riley Nelson, Timothy O’Brien, Sophia Ortoleva, Connie Pan, Olivia Papanier, Gavin Porter, Aidan Powers, Jacob Quaratella, Ethan Rivera, Julie Rudd, Hayden Saunders, Tait Sawden, Jesper Silberberg, Isabella Smith, Tessa St.Germain, Kassidy Standish, Lian Thompson, McKenzey Thompson, Lauren Wallace, Kelly Walsh, Alison Ward, Ellery Zrenda

Grade 10:

John Almy, Grace Arnold, Nihad Bicic, Hannah Britt, Evan Clark, Ryan Clark, Lauren Creagan, Elise DeBernardo, Elias D’Onofrio, Elizabeth Duddy, Eleanor Dushin, Iona Fitzgerald, Victoria Gage, Aiden Goiangos, Shawn Grenier, Nicolette Hallahan, Austin Halsey, Andrew Hedberg (also Q3), Fiona Hufford, Zoe Jensen, Julia Johnston, Nevin Joshy, Kian Kardestuncer, Cora Kern, Felse Kyle, William Larson, Reese Maguire, Abigail Manthous, Stephanie Mauro, Emily Mesham, Evan Morgan, Samuel Mullaney, Elle Myers, Michael O’Donnell, Bella Orlando, Lauren Presti, Adeline Riccio, Jacob Ritchie, Frank Sablone, Lloret Sala, Olivia Schaedler, Calvin Scheiber, Abigail Sicuranza, McLean Signora, Abby Speckhals, Drew St.Louis, Nikolai Stephens-Zumbaum, Victoria Stout, Maverick Swaney, Olivia Turtoro, Aidan Ward, Melanie Warren, Mary Wholean, Avery Wyman, Ryan Zbierski

Grade 9:

Elsie Arafeh-Hudson, William Barry, Callie Bass, Livie Bass, Cooper Bowman, Gillian Bradley, Ava Brinkerhoff, Jamie Bucior, Gretchen Burgess, Sebastian Burgio, Sarah Burnham, Hayley Cann, Liam Celic, Luke Celic (also Q3), Alexander Chrysoulakis, Grace Colwell, William Danes, Anna Davis, John Eichholz, Zachary Eichholz, Alexis Fenton, Clarence Hinckley, Willa Hoerauf, Arber Hoxha, Karissa Huang, Owen Ingersoll-Bonsack, Aidan Kerrigan, Celia LaConti, Phoebe Lampos, Theodore Lampos, Jonah Lathrop, Marielle Mather, Kennedy McCormick, Madalyn McCulloch, Caden Monte, Calvin Monte, Cooper Munson, Alexander Olsen, Alain Pecher-Kohout, Olivia Powers, Kelsey Pryor, Izzadora Reynolds, Benjamin Roth, Rhyleigh Russell, Eli Ryan, Anders Silberberg, Alyssa Spooner, Samantha Tan, Tova Toriello, Kaitlyn Ward, Harry Whitten, Quinn Williams

Honors

Grade 12:

Faith Brackley, Rory Cavicke, Kevin Davidson, Isabel Dean-Frazier, Leah Fouquette, Connor Hogan, Natalie Meyers, Dylan Mulligan, Chase Reneson, Samuel Roth, Aedan Using

Grade 11:

Bianca Dasilva, Justen Lessard, Katelyn Zbierski

Grade 10:

Lillian Herrera, Alexander Roth, Aidan Russell, Madison Thompson

Grade 9:

Kylie Dishaw, Matthew Grammatico, Monique Lavoie, Marco Supersano, George Williams

Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School 2019-20 Quarter 4 Honor Roll

High Honors

Grade 8:

Emma Bayor, Oliver Berry, Alis Bicic, Elliot Bjornberg, Drew Brackley, Natalie Buckley, Sarah Colangelo, Ava Cummins, Ella Curtiss-Reardon, Eric Dagher, Eva D’Onofrio, Amelia Gage, Ryder Goss, Sydney Goulding, Nyla Goulis, Alexis Grasdock, Justin Green, Katherine Gryk, Nathaniel Heon, Sedona Holland, Agatha Hunt, Beatrice Hunt, Sabina Jungkeit, Emmerson Kaye, Grady Lacourciere, Audrey LeCour, Luke Legein, Brodie Lippincott, Griffin McGlinchey, Lucas McMillan, Matthew Miller, Katherine Mullaney, Delaney Nelson, Isabelle O’Connor, Kayla O’Leary, Ronald Olin, Jack Porter, Luisa Raby, Cailin Ruhling, Owen Snurkowski, Madeleine Soriano, Hannah Thomas, Louisa Warlitz, Mason Wells, Summer Wollack

Grade 7:

Christopher Anderson, Emma Arelt, Quinn Arico, Oliver Avelange, Natalie Barndt, Micah Bass, Gavin Biega, Molly Boardman, Chase Calderon, Andrew Clougherty, Tabitha Colwell, Amber Cutler, Chloe Datum, Andrea DeBernardo, Jared DeMarco, Zoe Eastman-Grossel, Caeli Edmed, Anna Eichholz, Davis Fallon, Grace Ferman, Samantha Fiske, Benedict Frazier, Hoshena Gemme, Ava Gilbert, Marco Gonzaga, Henry Griswold, Kaela Hoss, Kyle Ingersoll-Bonsack, Hannah Johnston, Shyla Jones, Simon Karpinski, Olivia Kelly, Ella Kiem, Peter Kuhn, Bronwyn Kyle, Ada LaConti, Elise Leonardo, Evan LeQuire, Andrew Liu, Elizabeth Lopez, Colette Marchant, Hannah Miller, Abigail O’Brien, Kanon Oharu, Sophie Pennie, Mutia Quarshie, Andrew Sicuranza, Drea Simler, Nola Slubowski, Audrey Spiegel, Morgan Standish, Madeline Supersano, Kathleen Walsh

Grade 6:

Zoe Brunza, Alec Butzer, Makayla Calderon, Tyler Cann, Colman Curtiss-Reardon, Christopher Dagher, James Dahlke, Sophia D’Angelo, Rose Dimmock, William Donnelly, Arthur Fusscas, Eric Fusscas, Chase Gilbert, Alexander Glaras, Scarlette Graybill, Christopher Kachur, Thomas Kelly, Katherine King, Harrison Kleefeld, Jade Lawton, Maya LeQuire, Jayden Livesey, Emily Looney, Sebastian Lopez-Bravo, Ian Maeby, Elise Marchant, Samuel Masanz, Carter McGlinchey, Ryan Miller, Eiley Montanaro, Sybil Neary, Nina Nichols, Michael Nickerson, Ryan Olsen, Ryan Ortoleva, Quenten Patz, Isabella Presti, Jacob Prokopets, Luca Signora, Emma Singleton, Tanner Snurkowski, Charlotte Spiegel, Addison Spooner, Carson St.Louis, Andrew Taylor, Meredith Thompson, Margaret Thuma, Lucian Tracano, Madeleine Trepanier, Elisabeth Viera, Warren Volles, Oliver Wyman, Carl Zapatka

Honors

Grade 8:

Henry Boremski, Douglas Griswold, Anna McAdams, Gabriel Tooker, Tyler Wells

Grade 7:

Nathaniel Bradley, Mark Burnham, Erin Durant, Max Novak, Andrew Sprankle, Ava Wilcox

Grade 6:

Charlotte Antonino, Trevor Buydos, Jack Conroy, Alexa Donovan, Benjamin Goulding, William Landon, Jeremiah Miller, Taylor Quintin, Connor Vautrain, Edith Williams, Julius Wilson, Katherine Zhang

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Re-Opening Plans for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in Fall Include Mandatory Mask-Wearing, Physical Distancing, Cohorting

What will a classroom look like in Lyme-Old Lyme when schools reopen in the fall?

LYME/OLD LYME — “The only constant in these plans will be flexibility,” said Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser during a phone conversation with LymeLine.com on Wednesday while discussing the numerous changes that will be implemented in the upcoming fall semester at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools in order to for them to reopen safely.

Neviaser started by explaining that the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) has recently issued a 50-page plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which requires each town or Regional School District in Connecticut to submit a fall 2020 reopening plan incorporating the state’s guidelines to the CSDE by July 24. The state plan calls for reopening all schools in the state to all students in the fall of this year.

Noting that two district committees — ‘Operations’ and ‘Remote Learning’ — are currently working on preparation of this LOL Schools’ reopening plan, Neviaser said he intended to share it with parents towards the end of July or early August. He stressed that this plan would be the district’s overall plan and that individual school plans are currently being drawn up by the school principals in association with a team of teachers and parents at each school.

Neviaser explained that the Remote Learning Committee is looking at models for hybrid learning (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and the Operations Committee is responsible for, “Everything else … which includes buses, masks, health,” and more.

After the district-level plan has been distributed, Neviaser said a survey would be sent out to parents including questions such as whether their children would be returning to school; traveling to school by bus; and using the school’s lunch service.

Key points of the reopening plan are that:

  • The 2020-21 school calendar has been changed so that all six teacher development days are at the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1.
  • Face coverings will be required by all persons in all school buildings. There will only be exceptions for verified medical reasons.
  • Physical distancing will be implemented by various means throughout all five schools. Neviaser noted they are now using the term ‘physical’ rather than ‘social’ since it is felt that students benefit from social engagement.
  • Cohorting will be introduced for students, in Neviaser’s words, “as best we can … to limit the number of interactions students have with larger groups.”

In response to a question about whether students will be required to return to school, Neviaser said, “Allowances will be made for families to participate remotely.” He added that he had participated in a call set up by the LOL Schools’ accrediting body, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), with a number of  schools in other countries, which have already been through the COVID-19-related return-to-school process. Their experience was that roughly “20 percent of students did not return initially” but that after two to three weeks, that number had risen to almost 100 percent.

Neviaser commented, “We’re hoping for the same phenomena here.”

On the subject of buses, Neviaser noted strict protocols would be in place to promote physical distancing on board school buses but the use of buses will be discouraged whenever possible, saying, “If someone can drive you in[to school], we’d prefer they drive in.”

Explaining ways in which physical distancing will be implemented in the schools, Neviaser said, “We’re changing the traffic patterns in the high school so that all hallways are one-way.”

He also noted that arrangements for school lunches would be markedly different from previous years with all elementary age children (K-5) eating lunch in their classrooms while middle schoolers would eat with their grade in two different locations — the gym and the cafeteria — with 40 to 45 students physically spaced in each space.

Meanwhile at the high school, the number of lunch waves would be doubled from two to four thus reducing the number of students at each wave with provisions being made to allow the students to sit further apart. Neviaser also mentioned that all students will be encouraged to bring their own lunch to school whenever possible.

Asked whether LOL Schools would have a sports program in the fall, Neviaser responded, “We’re following CIAC [Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference] guidelines … and our intention is to have sports.” He noted that a letter would soon be going out to parents from the LOL Athletic Director, Hildie Heck, saying that at this point students, “will go through the regular process” for sports sign-up’s. Neviaser added though, “As we get more information, we will adjust if necessary.”

Art and Technical Education classes are presenting special challenges in terms of the planning due to the use of shared materials. Neviaser said, “We’re working on trying to address those things,” adding that students will be required to wear protective gloves when appropriate, for example when using a drill but not an electric saw. He also noted that music classes — both instrumental and choir — require detailed planning with an increasing awareness of the nature of virus transmission.

“We’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes,” Neviaser commented, “… and students will be cleaning up after themselves whenever possible.”

Asked what the plan is should anyone in the schools appear COVID-19 symptomatic, Neviaser replied that the individual would be moved to the Isolation Room by the appropriately protected school nurse (there will be an Isolation Room in each school) and then, “The school will follow the recommendations of Ledge Light Health District and proceed on the advice of the school district’s Medical Adviser.” He said the precise response to each individual and the associated quarantine requirements will be determined “on a case by case basis.”

In response to a question regarding the greatest concern he is currently hearing from parents and the broader community, Neviaser didn’t hesitate to respond, “Mask-wearing … especially for younger children.” He pointed out that presently, “The state’s expectation is that all children wear masks.” This would therefore include pre-schoolers but Neviaser noted that he, along with numerous other superintendents, around the state has raised further inquiries about masks requirements for that age cohort and a response from the state is still pending.

Neviaser also remarked that a new aspect of school life will be introduced in September when “mask-breaks” become a regular feature of the academic day. During these breaks, students will be permitted to remove their masks.

Throughout the conversation, Neviaser stressed repeatedly that these plans could change in the time leading up to the start of school and also once school has started. Saying,”We’re doing a lot of planning now but we’re prepared to change at any time,” he added, “We can shift to a hybrid plan [a combination of in-school and remote learning] or a completely remote plan,” as circumstances dictate.

He concluded, “Flexibility is key.”

Editor’s Note: Visit this link to read the previous article by Olwen Logan published July 11, titled, Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

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Neviaser Discusses Lyme-Old Lyme Schools’ Draft Reopening Plan with BOE; Says “This is New to Everyone. Schools Have Never Run Like This”

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools during the Board of Education meeting held virtually July 1.

LYME/OLD LYME — At its regular monthly meeting held virtually July 1 via Zoom, the Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education discussed the Connecticut State Department of Education’s plan titled, “Adapt, Advance, Achieve,” which had been received the previous week.

The plan gives guidelines for reopening all schools in the state in fall 2020 and requires all Connecticut towns and regional school districts to submit their own specific plans for reopening, which incorporate the state’s guidelines, by July 24.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser noted that the 50-page document from the state, “Covers the major areas the state expects us to focus on,” which he said LOL Schools have broken down into five main sections.

The first is ‘Priorities,’ which gives “a general focus on a reopening model, in which every single student will have the opportunity to return in the fall,” adding that it does however, “have an allowance for students not to participate.” There are also requirements to appoint a School Liaison point-person, who will be available for any questions on the reopening of LOL Schools, and to create both a Communications Plan and a Data Collection Plan for the district.

The second section is ‘Operations,’ which includes the areas of facilities, cohorting, child nutrition (school lunches) and transportation. Neviaser commented that there was considerable work to be done to determine how lunches would be handled, but they “Won’t look the same.” He also mentioned that transportation is “the only area where they [the state] have identified a detailed description of what it will look like,” noting that all students will be required to wear masks on buses.

The third area of ‘Health Practices and Protocols’ focuses on training for staff regarding COVID-19 on, for example, how to sneeze and/or cough, and identifying symptoms of the virus. It also describes a Health Monitoring Plan, which must be maintained to record the numbers of COVID-19 cases reported, and also shared with the local health department.

A fourth area titled, ‘Family Support and Communication’ relates to the issues of social and emotional support with, “a strong focus on reconnecting students and families with school.”

The final section of ‘Staffing and Personnel’ relates to matters including teacher certification and professional development.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Board of Education Chairman Diane Linderman listens as the Superintendent discusses the reopening plan for LOL Schools.

Neviaser explained that two LOL Schools’ Committees — namely ‘Operations’ and ‘Distance Learning,’ (which Neviaser mentioned should now be called ‘Remote Learning’ to be consistent with the state’s terminology) — have been working intensively since the schools were closed in March.  The latter is planning models for both ‘blended’ (a combination of in-school and at-home study) and ‘at home’ programs since, in Neviaser’s word, “We need to be prepared for both of those.”

The superintendent had prepared a draft calendar for LOL Schools for the 2020-21 school year in which all six teacher development days are moved to the beginning of the school year and the first day of school is pushed back to Sept. 1. The idea behind this proposal is that “a lot of educating for our staff” needs to take place before students can return, adding, “There is much more to open school this year than any other year.”

He stressed that the draft calendar is very tentative at this stage and still a topic of active discussion. Similarly, Neviaser noted that although a reopening plan has to be submitted to the state by July 24, things may still change after that, “on a day to day basis,” and emphasized the need for staff, students and parents to be flexible with adapting to the reopening procedures.  

Nevaiser stated the reopening plan, “will continue to evolve — even after school has started … What we say today could very well change two months from now … We fully anticipate that there will be changes and we recognize that we need to adapt to those changes.”

Questions from board members ranged from how the plan is going to be communicated to parents and how attendance will be recorded — especially in light of the ‘opt-out’ possibilities for students — to how the type of masks used by students will be regulated and what the provisions will be for teachers and/or students who are unable to wear masks.  There were also questions about whether additional staff would be required to implement the reopening plan and how the requirement for students to wear masks all day would be handled.

Neviaser responded that, in many cases, “We don’t have all the answers yet,” but said “mask-breaks” were being planned when students could remove their masks under certain specified circumstances.  He noted schools will be required to have isolation rooms for students and teachers who may have contracted COVID and emphasized that, “This is going to look slightly different at each school building … school principals will develop plans for their building.”

Regarding communication of the plan, Neviaser said he anticipated “providing information to parents” in late July or early August and would follow that with a parent survey seeking responses on whether their children would be returning to school, whether they would be using school buses (Neviaser noted use of buses will be discouraged where possible) and whether the student(s) would be using the school lunch service.

Neviaser summed up the whole reopening situation saying, “This is new to everyone. Schools have never run like this; we will adapt and improve, and work towards getting better at this every day.”

Editor’s Note: Olwen Logan contributed to this article.

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