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State announces COVID back-to-school guidelines, relaxes protocols for 2022-2023 school year

This year, schools will look at the hospital staffing rates and the number of patients in the hospitals as the new marker.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's state education leaders and public health officials rolled out COVID-19 back-to-school guidance for the upcoming school year.

The message for this school year is, “we've come a long way.” 

State education officials said this school year is vastly different than last school year, starting with more relaxed COVID protocols. 

The 2022-2023 school guidance called "Launching into Healthy Learning" is focused on keeping students learning inside the classroom during the first school year where every school-aged child is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

"If you are a parent and you have a school-aged child and you have not vaccinated them yet please do it. This is the number one way we keep children in school and prevent further outbreaks," said the Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani.

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What's different this school year?

Last year, COVID community levels were used to gauge community spread and were a factor in schools' decision-making regarding COVID policies. 

This year, schools will look at the hospital staffing rates and the number of patients in the hospitals as the new marker.

When that level is in the orange risk level, like it is now in New Haven County, indoor masking is recommended. 

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Schools can choose to implement a "test, mask, and go" policy. If a student has COVID-like symptoms, like a runny nose or cough but tests negative for the virus, it's recommended they go to school with a mask on. 

Dr. Juthani said being in school in person is the most important thing for students' well-being. 

"Students have had lost a lot in the last couple of years, we want to help them be able to move forward," said Dr. Juthani. 

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Health officials will continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when it comes to testing positive for COVID.

Right now the CDC requires a five-day isolation period and then a five-day masking period after a positive test. 

Decisions in each school will be left at the local level. 

Lindsey Kane is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at Lkane@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


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