WILTON — Wilton schools will most likely open with a hybrid model later this month, according to a letter to the school community sent Thursday by Superintendent Kevin Smith.

Smith will present his recommendation to the Board of Education for approval. The board had intended to meet Tuesday, then Thursday, but both meetings were scuttled by power outages that affect most of Wilton residents. Instead, the board will meet electronically on Monday.

Smith said he based his recommendation on the district’s academic, health and safety goals, with particular attention to both community COVID-19 transmission data and the district’s ability to effectively implement a range of mitigation strategies.

He explained that all students would be placed into two cohorts based on last name:

Students whose last name begins in A-L would participate in-person Monday/Tuesday and attend remotely Wednesday/Thursday/Friday.

Students whose last name begins M-Z would participate in-person Thursday/Friday and attend remotely Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday.

He emphasized that the alphabetical breakdowns are not firm. “We are working through our class lists to ensure that families with students in multiple schools are in the same cohort. We are also working to ensure that cohorts are as evenly split as possible,” he said.

Students with special needs, or who require other more intensive intervention services, would attend in-person more than two days per week.

School opens for half-days Aug. 26-28, with students only attending one cycle. Full-time classes begin Aug. 31.

Mitigation strategies

Smith said he is recommending a hybrid model because he believes the district needs time to test its mitigation strategies and ensure they will be as effective as they believe them to be.

“Having fewer numbers of students in the building at once decreases the overall density of the population on any given day and enables us to achieve 6 feet of social distance in our classrooms,” he said.

The hybrid plan will be reviewed every three weeks with the goal of returning all students to in-person schooling if conditions permit.

Each school was to send families their specific opening plans on Friday, and parent forums have been planned for next week.

According to Smith, each plan enables students to participate in a complete day whether a student is in-person or remote. On Wednesdays, the district will operate remotely on a shortened day schedule. In addition to continuing to deliver live instruction, afternoon hours will be dedicated to other needs including intervention services, parent communication, teacher office hours, team planning and professional learning.

Parent forums are scheduled as follows:

Tuesday: Cider Mill - 5:30 p.m. and Miller-Driscoll - 7 p.m.

Wednesday: Wilton High School - 6 p.m.

Thursday: Middlebrook - 6 p.m.

Friday: Special Services - 9:30 a.m.

Families may continue to use the email address input@wiltonps.org to provide thoughts and recommendations on reopening.