Wilton letter: Parents must speak up on school reopening choices

To the Editors:

Wilton parents, voice your opinions on re-opening schools.

Now is the time for Wilton parents to let the Board of Education know where you stand on the reopening of schools in September — six weeks from now. We believe we should continue with remote learning.

Connecticut has been able to lower the rate of COVID infections in communities where residents are observing social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and sheltering at home. Imagine the difficulty of consistently enforcing these regimens inside a school building or a classroom at the same time students are working in small groups or using their Chromebooks touched by classmates. In the most recent poll, Wilton is leading in the number of new COVID cases in our area: 1 new case per 81 residents. It only takes one person carrying the virus to create a mini-epidemic within a school.

As former Wilton teachers (and substitute teachers) and parents of three children educated in the Wilton schools, we would not send our children to school during this pandemic. They would rely instead on distance learning, using their laptops to access classroom learning remotely. As teachers, we would not jeopardize our own health — our lives and the lives of our family — by returning to the classroom before a reliable vaccine would be available in our town, nor would we expect substitutes to risk their own health to instruct students in our classrooms.

As retired teachers, we support the use of time this summer for current teachers to work remotely with their colleagues in sharing ideas for instruction and developing approaches to support students’ learning from the safety of their homes.

Yes, this is a difficult time for us all, but our children are resilient. When their health is no longer at risk, and they can safely return to an in-school environment, our teachers will help them figure out how to fill in the gaps that may exist in their academic progress.

Meanwhile, continue to keep our families safe before expecting our school officials to place education before survival. And, if you agree that we should not open our school buildings in September, let the Board of Education know through your emails to their website, through your letters to the editor. Do not assume that all will be well without your input. The Board of Education needs to hear from you. Put community health first.

Susan and David Graybill