Deb Kay, a custodian at Wamogo Regional High School, disinfects a table in a classroom at the school in preparation for the first day of classes on Aug. 26. BZ photo

Back to school plans are in the works in Litchfield and Region 6, with students due to return for the first day of classes on Aug. 26.

Social-distancing guidelines will be enforced and safety protocols will be in place to ensure the health of students and staff. Custodians in both districts are engaged in an effort to clean and disinfect every surface in the schools before opening day.

Opening day, obviously, will be unlike any other for either district as extreme measures are being taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that closed schools in mid-March and led to a distance-learning program designed to keep students engaged.

Expect the plans in place for now to evolve as the two districts respond to the ever-changing directives from the state, according to Superintendent of Schools Christopher Leone.

“It will not be perfect, but we’ll keep getting better by adjusting and communicating,” Leone said during a virtual conference with parents last week. “It’s important that we stay together through this.”

Both districts will ease into the school year with three half-days that will serve as an orientation on safety protocols, which parents are scheduled to receive on Monday. Teachers and staff will have three days of professional development that will feature instruction on the protocols and education in the COVID-19 era.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks in school and begin their day with a self-health check that must be emailed in to their schools before they can enter the building.

Classes will be smaller to meet social distancing guidelines and groups of students will remain together throughout the school day.

Parents have the option of keeping their children at home, where they would have live online access to classes