The Connecticut Department of Education released guidance that states school districts in Connecticut will not have to offer a remote learning option to families next fall.
Officials with the Dept. of Education said they do not anticipate needing to mandate school districts provide this option after this school year.
“I’m really hopeful that our schools are open, you get your kid back to school. Maybe we have a vaccine for kids at that point. We found during the worst of the pandemic, say eight months ago, our schools were open and open safely. So that’s priority 1, 2 and 3 for me," Gov. Ned Lamont said during a news conference Thursday.
This school year, there was a mandate in place which required school districts to provide the remote option to students at the "unilateral request of the student/family." The requirement, under "Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut's Plan to Learn and Grow Together" and "Addendum 1, Temporarily Opting into Voluntary Remote Learning Due to COVID-19," will no longer be in place after this school year, according to officials.
"Rapidly shifting to entirely remote learning or a hybrid model was mandated during the emergency because it was a required public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The educational community has made immense progress and shown great resilience when implementing this emergency departure from the traditional approach to education," the guidance reads.
Officials cited the importance of in-person learning in their guidance, saying "access to in-person learning opportunities is a priority, particularly due to the significance of the social-emotional environment provided through student and adult interactions during the school day."
The Dept. of Education said that it's important to learn from the disruption caused by the pandemic rather than to return "back" to what education was like before COVID-19.
"If you still do not want to send your kids to school, we’ll find what’s online and available to help you find alternatives," Lamont said.
The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education responded to the news with a statement:
“We recognize the importance of in person learning for the social emotional as well as academic needs of students. It is welcome news that state officials do not anticipate that a requirement for virtual learning will be needed when the 2021-22 school year begins.”