HARTFORD, Conn. — Nearly every school in Connecticut has gone mask optional, but with the COVID-19 positivity rate on the rise, some are once again having trouble staying open.
The 7-day average positivity rate rose again today to 11.2%. Hospitalizations, however, still remain low at 233.
But COVID rates are high, mask mandates are gone and schools are also closing.
“We do have some concerns. I don’t see it widespread,” said Fran Rabinowitz, the executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.
However, in Enfield, 40 of 75 staff members at the Henry Barnard Middle School have COVID. They are not able to get enough subs to cover the shortage so they are closed.
“We’re having a very difficult time with staffing overall,” said Rabinowitz.
COVID-19 closure days are treated like snow days. They have to be made up at the end of the year to fulfill the state's 180-day requirement. Remote learning doesn’t count toward that requirement, but should it?
“In my opinion, yes,” said Rabinowitz. “We should be able to, at this point and time, we have learned how to transfer from in-person learning to remote learning.”
COVID-19 cases for students statewide are up 33% compared to last week and 26% for staff.
The Enfield school district said they can’t guarantee they’ll be able to hold school Monday, and right now their last day is scheduled for June 21.
COVID isn’t just affecting schools, it’s hitting businesses hard, which is why the city of East Hartford has set aside $4.5 million for a COVID small business assistance program for any business looking to expand, hire or renovate.
“We will set aside up to $125,000 for. Qualified small business. We’d like to see it veteran-owned, we’d like to see it minority business owned but basically, you had to have had an established business in East Hartford since Jan 1, 2019,” remarked Mayor Mike Walsh.
With all 8 counties in the medium or high-risk zone for COVID, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is recommending masks indoors for the three high counties of Hartford, New Haven and Middlesex.
“Our positivity certainly has been rising,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
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