School District approves dress code changes

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by Terry Rogers

On Monday, August 17, Milford School District Board of Education approved changes to their dress code in an effort to reduce financial burdens on parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes are in place until January 2021 when the Board will review them to see if they need to be adjusted.

“We did not want our parents going out to buy a lot of new school clothes,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson explained. “Once they do return to school, we know we needed to relax the code just a little to give parents time to adjust.”

The dress code did not change significantly other than students can now wear any color polo shirt with a collar and may also wear solid color t-shirts. Jeans are now permitted in addition to khaki-style pants. One change to the dress code allows students to wear hoodies in the classroom, but they must keep the hood down at all times inside the building.

“One of the reasons we are allowing hoodies is because we are not allowing students to use lockers,” Dr. Dickerson said. “Many students wear hoodies as coats and they would have no place to store them if we did not allow them.”

Board member Renate Wiley pointed out that they did a pilot program at the high school, allowing hoodies as long as the hoods were kept off the student’s head and it was successful.

“My grandchildren wear hoodies and they know they cannot put the hood up inside,” Wiley said. “A lot of children need the hooded sweatshirts if they are walking home in the cold.”

One section of the dress code addresses any clothing that is offensive and this would include masks. Students would not be permitted to wear masks with inappropriate photos or writing on them.

“We also need to look at what masks are effective,” Wiley said. “There is new science that the thin neck scarves provide no protection so we may want to look at that when kids come back to the classroom.”

Board Member David Vezmar asked if students were required to wear dress-code appropriate shirts during the synchronous education sessions. Dr. Dickerson stated that students would be expected to dress appropriately for online sessions where other students and the teacher would be present.

The dress code changes were approved unanimously.

In addition to relaxing the dress code temporarily, Jon LoBiondo, Transportation Supervisor, explained that he met with John Fisher Kline, the daycare liaison from the Department of Education. The district is currently gathering information about daycare openings, not to coordinate daycare for parents but to provide them with resources.

“Mid-week, DOE is sending out a survey to parents about their daycare needs and then later in the week will send something similar to daycares,” LoBiondo said. “There are some issues with daycares who do not have proper bandwidth so it would be difficult for multiple students to be online at the same time. Daycares also have strict requirements about screen time which will need to be changed in order for children to learn remotely at their location.”

LoBiondo explained that daycares have been willing to work with the state and the district to help as many families as they can. Some are adding programs, including the Boys and Girls Club which normally does not have daycare during the school day. Once the information is available, LoBiondo said the district would be sure parents and staff had access to it.