CONNECTICUT, USA — Connecticut is weeks away from the start of school and the state is gearing up to have children re-enter schools.
At this time, there is no one set school re-opening plan in place as far a state requirement goes, but according to Governor Ned Lamont every school no matter the district is putting safety first.
“This is a public education emergency and we are going to step up to make sure we are meeting the needs of our learners getting students in the classroom because that is where they learn best,” said Dr. Miguel Cardon who is the state’s education commissioner.
At last check, 231 school districts participated in a survey sharing their thoughts of re-entering schools.
The survey found 76-percent of students look forward to re-entering the schools; 81-percent of teachers say they also expect to re-enter school but the Governor notes that many are still unsure.
In response to students who don’t necessarily feel confident going back to school in the classroom and may continue to learn from home, Gov. Lamont said, “we have made it a big priority… we’ll be backstopping all of our superintendents in terms of the technology they need to be able to zoom in and out of that classroom so they continue to learn remotely."
Gov. Ned Lamont also said, “As we talk about education, talk about how important it is to get these kids back in the classroom public health is going to be our priority number one, two and three for teachers, superintendents and all the powers that are there.”
The governor promises state-donated personal protective equipment and technology needed to keep students and staff safe.
“The goal is to get students in our schools we know students with special needs, students that are English learners, students that have been disengaged with distance learning are more likely to suffer if we don’t get our students back in schools,” said Dr. Cardona.
In an address to the public, some superintendents got a chance to share a bit of their plans for re-opening their schools.
New London’s superintendent, Cynthia Ritchie said, “Our goal was to make a plan that could be fluid, so we color-coded school re-opening plans to be green which means full in-person come back to school on opening, yellow which is signaling our hybrid model which is 50-percent capacity and red which means back to distance learning because it is not safe for everyone to come back into the building.”
The state plans to follow the CDC recommendation to cohort students which basically keeping students and teachers together throughout the day and avoiding the mixing of classes.
“We are cohorting our elementary students you know we are thinking of keeping those classes together throughout the course of the day, we are doing the same in our middle schools it’s not so much as a class at a time but more so a grade level thing; Governor Lamont you mentioned flexibility. It’s very difficult to cohort at the high school level for a variety of reason including just the essence of adolescence and teenage students,” said Dr. Bryan Luizzi.
Mask breaks will be allowed to give children time to breathe.
Monday, New Haven public schools still ironing out the details of its reopening plan.
Dr. Edward Joyner in an address to other board members stated, “I’m going to ask you to think very seriously about this we must have safety standards that are not negotiable if we are going to bring these children back to school.”
The state is reviewing plans sent in by school districts, but to see what your district is planning check your districts website for more.
During his COVID-19 state briefing, Lamont also updated the public on the newly expanded travel advisory. The governor said that 25% of travel health forms were filled out by people traveling to Connecticut from Florida.
Gov. Lamont started the briefing with a three-day summary of the state’s COVID-19 metrics:
- 1,960 tests administered
- 207 came back positive
- 0.65% positivity rate
- 5 COVID-related deaths
- 59 patients are hospitalized