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Many CT schools say a Friday snow day is perfect timing amid the COVID crush

Friday's snow could provide just the break school systems decimated by staffing absences need.

MERIDEN, Conn. — While Friday's snow is not great news for those who must be on the roads during the storm, it could provide just the break school systems decimated by staffing absences need.

Meriden's public schools are experiencing 20% to 25% more absences of staff than usual this week. So, the timing of the snow might be a good thing.

"I think a lot of our students, staff and families, many people are going to be happy and it will be a little bit of a sigh of relief to take a break and be able to come back more energized next week," said Lou Bronk, an assistant superintendent for Meriden Public Schools, which will be closed Friday.

RELATED: CT DOT, local municipalities ready to clear roads during Friday snowstorm

Hamden schools are closed as well, primarily because of weather, but they've had staffing issues this week that resulted in several school closures.

"Once with the middle school and two times this week with the high school, but we've been able to keep all the elementary schools open, said Gary Highsmith, an assistant superintendent for Hamden Public Schools.

He is among the school leaders statewide that believe schools are actually a better place for kids to be than home or out in the community.

"Because everybody is masked who's there (in school)," Highsmith said. "You've got a ventilation system and airflow exchange that's conducive to healthier physical environment."

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New Haven schools, which were closed for Three Kings Day Thursday, and will remain closed again Friday, had nearly 600 of its 4,000 employees absent Wednesday. 

"Our teachers and the paraprofessionals and other school staff that have been coming in and have been really stepping up doing way more than they usually have to do," said Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven). "So, giving people a break over the weekend and hopefully a longer weekend will give them time to rejuvenate."

New Haven schools have received roughly 16,000 rapid test kits for students and staff, but it’s important to know when to test.

RELATED: CT children line up to get boosted against COVID-19

"When you are symptomatic, you take this rapid test and then you can isolate yourself meaning to remove yourself from other family members in your household and not go to work or school and then, on day five, retest," said Maritza Bond, New Haven's Health Director.

And if you are deemed to have been in close contact of someone who is positive, test yourself five days after you last had contact with them. 

To easily understand the testing process, the New Haven Health Department has posted these videos, in English and Spanish on how to test.  

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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