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Article Published August 9, 2020

Branford Schools Planning for 'Hybrid Model' to Reopen Sept. 9

By Pam Johnson/

In a letter issued Friday, Aug. 7, Branford Superintendent of Schools Hamlet Hernandez announced the new date to start to the school year will be Wednesday, Sept. 9; and supplied district school families with an update on the latest plans, to date, for some students returning to buildings in September based on a "hybrid model."

"As of today, we plan to reopen in a hybrid model, with some students returning in September followed by additional students at a future date if determined appropriate based on the status of the virus in our community. This decision will be made in consultation with public health officials," Hernandez wrote.

Hernandez also noted that, " part of the reopening plan, staff will participate in a variety of professional development and protocol training prior to the first day with students."

According to information supplied in the letter, during the week of Aug. 10, the district plans to provide families with more information about the specifics of the hybrid model, as well as those on a presentation set for August 18 and a Board of Education (BOE) Town Hall meeting set for August 19. The Town Hall meeting will be moderated by BOE Chair Shannen Sharkey and State Representative Robin Comey.

Planning for the Hybrid Model

The hybrid model is a mix of full in-person and remote learning. As Hernandez described in his letter of July 24, 2020 to CT Commissioner of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, the district feels the hybrid model best allows schools to incorporate practices of cohorting, social distancing, structural hygiene and face coverings while "maximizing instructional time and reducing the likelihood of transmission of the virus."

Results of a parent survey and feedback from questions sent to figured into the district's planning for the elementary hybrid model, Hernandez noted.

"Based on the parental input and the flexibility recently granted to local school districts, we are modifying the elementary hybrid model so it is not a 1/2 day model," Hernandez wrote, in his letter of Aug. 7. "The final adjustments to the elementary hybrid model are being finalized and specifics about the hybrid model will be announced next week so families can finalize their fall schedule. The District's final plan will reflect this change."

The letter also provided this link to the district's July 24 reopening plan responses to the CT State Department of Education (CSDE) as required by Executive Order of Gov. Ned Lamont. At that time, Branford Public Schools had informed families that the approach to reopening was to be either in a hybrid or remote model.

The new date to start the school year was set by the BOE during its Aug. 6 meeting, when the BOE officially amended the 2020-21 school calendar from the original start date of Aug. 27, based on the state-approved change allowing for a reduced, 177-day school year.  The revised calendar will be posted to the district website ( on Monday, August 10.