Breaking News
More () »

School districts prepare for fall re-opening with masks, but other less strict guidance

Gov. Ned Lamont has indicated state guidance will mirror the CDC.

NEWINGTON, Conn. — The CDC has issued new guidance on mask wearing in schools. But as we prepare for a full in person reopening, communities are still waiting on the state to issue its own guidance.

The CDC has essentially said all teachers and students regardless of vaccination status should be wearing masks. "It looks pretty certain that masks will have to be worn. I think it had a lot to do with the variant," said Newington School Superintendent Maureen Brummett.

Brummett said in other ways, guidance will be less strict come the fall. The CDC has said disinfecting surfaces isn’t as important. And as opposed to last year, when quarantines shut down entire schools, fewer teachers and students will have to isolate from a COVID exposure. "The good news though is if you are vaccinated, and you want to share that with us then if you are directly exposed you don’t have to quarantine," she said.

But masks are perhaps the most divisive issue. A vocal minority has been calling for kids to go unmasked. Some people feel differently. "I think it’s going to be time to start masking back up because not everyone is getting their vaccine," said Connor Sainz of Milford, who is a high school student.

Leah Hartman is from Mystic. She is also a teacher. She said, "I think we have to rely on the data and our scientists, and I support their decision and actually I do teach, so that will mean that I wear a mask and I prefer that my students didn’t have to do it but if that’s the safety so that my students can get an education, I’m happy to follow the rules."

RELATED: CDC mask guidance under review, could apply to 2 CT counties

Gov. Ned Lamont has indicated state guidance will mirror the CDC. "We will probably continue to follow their lead and say that would be my recommendation as well," explained Gov. Lamont. Stopping short of any state mandates, he left it up to schools. "Every school has discretion to have stricter standards if they see fit."

Many districts are using federal relief money this summer to make health and safety upgrades to their HVAC ventilation and filtration systems. Patrice McCarthy of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education said, "That has been a real priority and that is work that can take place during these summer months when we don’t use all of our school buildings on a full-time basis."

One thing that remains unclear, will social distancing guidelines be updated? "The guidance from our department of public health was that there was not a need to increase that distancing," said McCarthy. A required six foot distance between desks last year shrunk to three feet by the end of the year. But now scientists say a person infected with the Delta variant, which makes up about 80% of new cases here in Connecticut, can carry 1,000 times more virus than the original strain.

RELATED: CDC reverses course on indoor masks in parts of US where COVID is surging


Download the FOX61 News APP

iTunes: Click here to download

Google Play: Click here to download

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.


Paid Advertisement