Some school districts may start the school year with a hybrid plan, allowing half of their students to return to in-person learning, while the other half learn remotely, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.
Gov. Lamont said that after hearing from 231 school districts, most students and teachers are expecting to return to the classroom this fall.
He conceded that some cities such as New Haven and Danbury that have more crowded schools may be inclined to begin the year with a hybrid plan.
Lamont said 76% of students are expecting to return to school in the fall; 81% of teachers are expecting to instruct in the classroom.
Lamont also said 54% of students expect to ride the bus to school.
The state has received nearly unanimous support for cohorting in elementary schools, K-5.
"Every district has a slightly different way they want to be doing this," Lamont said.
Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona said a team of 10 people is sorting through the plans submitted by each school district last Friday.
Cardona emphasized that plans are fluid and anything can change depending on the COVID-19 situation in the state. The health and safety of students and teachers will trump any decisions that are made, Cardona said.
Superintendent of New London Schools Cynthia Ritchie said they have a fluid return-to-school plan in place. The school district has come up with a flexible color-coded plan. Their green plan would implement fully in-person classes, the yellow plan would allow 50% capacity in a hybrid format, and the red plan would mean fully online coursework.
"People want a good education for their students, but everyone wants everyone to be safe and we share those goals,” Ritchie said.
The school district plans to record videos to show parents what a day in the life will look like for their kids to help alleviate fears and get used to the new way of teaching.
Superintendent of New Canaan Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said their school district plans to cohort elementary and middle school students, saying it would be very hard to cohort high schools. He said that students seem to be generally comfortable wearing masks for an extended period of time, as seen with their summer programs.
Luizzi said the school district plans to transition collaborative work to be socially distant. They plan to do this by emptying furniture out of classrooms and considering occasional outdoor instruction. School officials are working to make sure technology is robust enough for these changes.
There are also plans in place to bring teachers back early to undergo a five-day training.
New Connecticut Coronavirus Numbers
The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive remains below one percent. There has been an average positivity rate of 0.6% since Friday.
There are 12 fewer hospitalizations, bringing the total to 59 in Connecticut.
An additional 207 people have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing total cases to 48,983.
Five more deaths have been reported.
There have been 31,960 tests performed since Friday.
Travel Health Form Success
Lamont said that since Thursday, more than 5,000 travel health forms have been filled out. He said about 25% of all forms completed are from people leaving Florida and coming into Connecticut.
The forms allow the state to track who is coming into Connecticut and where they will be staying, Lamont said.
Because travel health forms are accessible online, Lamont said travelers coming into the state through plane and car have been completing forms.
There have been more than 1,800 inquiries to 211 and the CT Department of Public Health.