Duffy Dateline

September 4, 2020

Our Duffy Promise:

As Duffy citizens, we show respect, demonstrate compassion, and take responsibility for our learning and our actions.

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Curriculum Corner

Hybrid Model

We will be starting the school year off with a hybrid model. We have split the student population into two groups (by last name), the Red Group and the Blue Group. Students with last names beginning with the letters A-K are assigned to the Red Group; those with last names beginning with letters L-Z are assigned to the Blue Group. While the Red Group is attending school, the Blue Group will access learning online. Groups will alternate between in-school and online learning one week at a time.

The first week of school will be split in order to acclimate students to the schedule and attend to beginning of the year tasks. On your children's at-home learning day, they will attend a small group meeting with their teacher between 2:20 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.. The picture below is the first weeks at-a-glance for elementary students.

Please click on the picture to view the Duffy School Hybrid Model Reopening Plan slide show

Health and Safety

As we approach the start of school and all the excitement that it brings, we wanted to remind all of our Duffy community that we have a collective responsibility to continue making good choices to help keep everyone safe. This includes making sure your student wears a mask and practices distancing at the bus stop, on the bus, and on our campus, and you wearing a mask when dropping your student off at school or visiting. In this section of the Dateline we will keep you updated on the health, safety, and travel protocols. Below in the Dragon Dirt section, you will find more information on preparing your student for school. We are all in this together, and together we will have a great year for our students and community. Please continue to reach out with questions and we can't wait to see everyone soon!

Health Protocols

The new WHPS Health Protocols have been added to our website: https://www.whps.org/protocols.

The COVID-19 home screening must be done before sending your child to school each day.​

Final student screening 8.5 x 11 -Print copy 8-...

Please click on the pictures below for more information regarding the protocols and the home health screening.

Face Masks

The wearing of face coverings (masks) that completely cover the nose and mouth at all times by everyone when in public or any time a person is within 6 feet of someone not living in their household, has been the most important mitigation strategy implemented during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the wearing of face coverings by all students and staff at all times while inside the school will be an important part of reopening the school to in-person learning while also limiting the opportunity for the spread of COVID-19 in the school.

The face covering should be made of thick, good quality fabric. But don’t worry, we have plenty for students here at school if needed! We also recommend packing an extra mask or two for the day as well.

Travel Quarantine Reminder

A number of parents have asked about travel before school starts or during the school year. Anyone traveling to a state identified by the State of Connecticut’s travel advisory must quarantine for fourteen days. This list changes frequently and can be accessed at https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/travel. In addition, the CDC recommends against international travel to high risk destinations, which includes most countries and can be accessed here: https://www.cdc.gov. Anyone returning from a COVID-19 High Risk destination must quarantine for 14 days before engaging in in-person classes at our school.

Morning Entry and Dismissal

In order to maximize spacing and get students into the school building safely, morning entry will look different this year. Please read the important safety protocols below. Then, click on the grade level link to learn about where your child will enter the building each morning and watch the video below to see where your student will enter.

Safety Protocols

  1. Families with students in Grades 2-5, please arrive at 8:30 and use the drop off zone on Westminster Drive. Students will exit the car independently and walk to their designated door. Mrs. Mori will be there every day to assist!

  2. Families with students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 must park in the bus parking lot and walk their child to their designated drop off door in the back of the building. Please use the sidewalk. Do not cross through the bus loop.

  3. Students who walk to school will enter through their designated door. We ask that adults promptly leave once their student enters the building so that we can be ready to utilize our outdoor learning spaces.

  4. Masks must be worn on the campus at all times. Children and adults must have a mask on upon exiting their vehicle and keep the mask on until entering back into the vehicle.

  5. A staff member will be assigned to each drop off door to assist with distancing and sanitizing procedures.

  6. Upon entering their designated door, students will sanitize using touchless sanitizing stations and go immediately to their classroom.


Students will enter one at a time and use touchless sanitizing stations which are located at every entry door. A staff member will be assigned to each door to monitor and assist students.

If you have a kindergartener, click here:


If you have a first grader, or student in Dr. Pauluk class, click here:


If you have a second or third grader, or student in Ms. Scata's class, click here:


If you have a fourth or fifth grader, click here:


Dismissal (1:50)

Family members will pick up students from the area near the door they entered for morning drop off. Please park and walk to the designated area. If families have multiple children attending Duffy, please consider picking up the youngest child first.

Thank you for your support with our morning entry and dismissal plan for this year. You can look forward to a communication from your child’s teacher to solidify the classroom specific plan for arrival and dismissal, as well as staff-created videos showing students exactly what to do!

Please click on the picture below to watch a video showing the morning entry plan.

One Community. One Year.

WHPS believes in the power of coming together to make a difference. Students, families, and staff are invited to participate in the Reopening Schools 2020 Campaign by submitting creative multilingual public service announcements (PSAs).

The theme for the campaign is One Community. One Year. The purpose of the campaign is to unite our community and to spread information- not the virus. WHPS needs everyone's help to protect our community. You can also help us to fight the stigma and misinformation so that we begin and finish the 2020-2021 school year in positive, safe and healthy ways!

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Picture submitted by Maren M.

Duffy School Calendar


Events are at Duffy unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, September 8th

  • 8:30 a.m. - 1:50 p.m. - First day of in-person school for the RED group
  • 2:20 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. - Small group online instruction for the BLUE group

Wednesday, September 9th

  • 8:30 a.m. - 1:50 p.m. - Second day of in-person school for the RED group
  • 2:20 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. - Small group online instruction for the BLUE group

Thursday, September 10th

  • 8:30 a.m. - 1:50 p.m. - First day of school for the BLUE group
  • 2:20 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. - Small group online instruction for the RED group

Friday, September 11th

  • 8:30 a.m. - 1:50 p.m. - Second day of school for the BLUE group
  • 2:20 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. - Small group online instruction for the RED group
  • 10:00 a.m. - Coffee and Conversation with Mrs. Laverty. Please join the virtual meeting using this link https://meet.google.com/vzy-hbik-gru or by phone: ‪(US) +1 402-865-0130‬ PIN: ‪449 769 693‬#

Monday, September 14th - Friday, September 18th

  • RED group at-school learning week
  • BLUE group at-home learning week

Monday, September 21st - Friday, September 25th

  • BLUE group at-school learning week
  • RED group at-home learning week

Dragon Dirt

Policies, Announcements & Celebrations

Preparing Students

Principals have made a series of educational videos to help students prepare for school. These short videos provide information about handwashing, physical distancing, riding the bus, and plans for a safe, positive and healthy community climate. You can watch them with your child here: https://www.whps.org/district-info/coronavirus-covid-19/health-and-safety-videos.

Free Breakfast and Lunch

FREE breakfast and lunch has been approved for ALL students of the West Hartford Public Schools through December 31, 2020. You may be thinking about what WHPS children will do for meals during the school as a student participating in the hybrid model or in the Remote Learning Experience. The good news is that due to a change in the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulation ALL students are now eligible for FREE breakfast and lunch. There are no income requirements, and any student of the West Hartford Public Schools (WHPS) may enjoy a bagged breakfast and/or lunch. The following outlines information about In-Person/In-School meal service and “Grab and Go” pick-up meal service and other community food programs. please click here for more information.


At Duffy, we will eat outside every day that is not raining (K-5). When it rains, we will eat in classrooms. To ensure the safety of all students in this new model, snacks and lunches must be nut-free. SunButter is a good alternative for "peanut butter and jelly" sandwiches.

Below are links to the Grab and Go lunches for remote and distance hybrid learners and the menu for lunches served at school.

School Supplies

Thanks to Mrs. Schott, you will have a “supply kit” here at school. Your own personal crayons, pencils, markers, scissors, and glue sticks will help you do your very best work! There are four things you will need to bring from home:

  1. A backpack

  2. A water bottle

  3. A folder

  4. A towel (for picnic lunches!)

West Hartford Social Services is also offering a gift card to help your student(s) with school supplies for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Click here for more information.

The Concerned Parents of Color of West Hartford is holding a book bag giveaway event. Please clink here for more information.

Singing and Wind Instruments

Dear Music Families,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones well and preparing for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. West Hartford Public Schools, the music faculty, and all WHPS staff and administration have been working diligently to prepare for the students’ return the week of September 8th. I wanted the opportunity to share some vital information about music making during this unique and unprecedented fall.

Under an abundance of caution, and in consideration of the safety and well being of all members of our West Hartford community, the administrative team has decided that all students K-12 will not sing nor play wind instruments during in-person class instruction to begin the 2020-2021 school year. I want to stress that this does not mean that students will not play nor sing in any capacity in our music curriculum, nor is it our plan to suspend singing and wind instruments during in-person class for the entire school year.

Our dynamic and thoughtful music staff will be implementing singing and playing during our home-based virtual learning sessions, using technology to enhance student learning in-person and remotely, and utilizing various music software to facilitate student-centric, multi-part music compositions. We will also take this opportunity to focus on personalized learning while cultivating the student’s capacity to learn and understand American music, understanding the significant contributions from the many diverse and culturally rich racial and ethnic groups that make up our incredible community and country.

Furthermore, when we meet certain public health metrics and once WHPS establishes a consistent routine founded in staff and student safety, we will begin to phase in wind instrument playing and singing. As we do so, we will use various mitigation strategies to ensure enjoyable and stress-free learning experiences. Students will wear masks during singing and playing, practice social distancing of 9 to 12 feet, use cover mitigation strategies for wind instruments, smaller breakout groups and chamber ensembles, and safely use outdoor spaces weather permitting.

Music and the Performing Arts has the capacity to heal us and provide the thread that unites us. It has a profound impact on students’ lives as a medium for individual self-expression, and provides an opportunity for students to learn how to work together and solve problems that face us as a society. The opportunity to make music with students everyday, along with the incredible musical experiences offered at every age level here in WHPS is profoundly important. We are incredibly grateful to make music in West Hartford, a community that values the Performing Arts and Music in such a resounding way. We recognize that students want to play and sing during in-person class, and we look forward to the community following protocols and safety procedures so that our outstanding teachers and students can continue to uphold the incredible tradition of excellence that the WHPS Fine and Performing Arts Department has enjoyed for over five decades.

We sincerely appreciate your continued support during this unique and unprecedented time. Please, my friends, be patient with us. No one wants to make music more than we do!


Andrew Mayo

Supervisor, Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Technology Opportunity

WHPS will be offering technology sessions for parents in various languages on an overview of platforms. Please click on the link to enroll!

WHPS Parent Educational Technology Survey


It is important that we always have up-to-date contact information for you and at least 3 emergency contacts for your child in case we are not able to reach you. To add or change emergency contacts or to update your information, please visit the PowerSchool Parent Portal.


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Celebrating Equity, Diversity & Inclusion


WHPS Equity and Diversity Council (EDC) website

Welcome back Duffy families, and welcome to all new Duffy families!

The last several months have undoubtedly been challenging to all of us in many ways, some collectively, some specific to individual families. One thing that has been made abundantly clear is that our ongoing work toward Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is integral to a better community and society. The effects of health disparities and educational inequities on marginalized groups, racist rhetoric and violence, and systemic racism have all come to the forefront and it can be overwhelming.

As parents, caregivers, and educators, we can make a difference by ensuring that our Duffy community is a safe, inclusive environment for all of our families by working and learning together, challenging ourselves to grow, and teaching our children the same. We invite you to join us as we partner with Duffy’s wonderful faculty and staff to ensure that Duffy is the best it can be for all!

Anne Koneru, Heidi Hojnicki, and Tracy Wu Fastenberg

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs

Upcoming events:

September 13th: Welcoming World Voices in West Hartford

A film festival about the contributions and challenges of new immigrants, refugees and people who cross cultural borders (Sponsored in part by West Hartford Parent Community Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Groups West Hartford Public Schools Equity and Diversity Council)

September 15th – October 15th: Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month

Books celebrating Afro-Latinx, Cuban, Latinx/Latin American, Puerto Rican, Spanish/Bilingual stories

The Duffy EDI Committee is a collaboration between families and staff that seeks to support our diverse community through inclusive and equitable planning, programming and communication, with the purpose of fully meeting the needs of all our Duffy families.

Additional EDI resources for families: The Conscious Kid, Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners, HereWeeRead, PFLAG’s Cultivating Respect: Safe Schools for All, Teaching Exceptional Thinkers’ List of Books About Children with Disabilities, Book Riot’s List of Diverse Children’s Books

August diversity


(Click on picture to view flyer.)

Publication & Submission Dates

Submissions can be sent to Kristi Laverty at Kristi_Laverty@whps.org and/or Megan Sipe at megan_sipe@whps.org.