covid-19 and schools

Parents Share Thoughts About State's ‘Screen and Stay' School Initiative

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Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a new 'Screen and Stay' initiative for Connecticut schools that choose to participate.

Under the new plan, students and staff who are not fully vaccinated would be able to stay in school after close contact with someone who has COVID-19 in certain situations.

Kelly Santana tells NBC Connecticut she's not fully on board with the initiative.

"They might not show symptoms today or tomorrow but then what about if it shows up two days later, then they got everyone sick in the classroom, so I think they should stay home if they have symptoms," said Santana. "If they're coming to school with any type of contact with COVID-19 whether they're showing symptoms or not, I think they should be kept at home."

The voluntary initiative for school districts has a few priorities: ensure kids are safe in schools, ensure unvaccinated kids are able to stay in school and not quarantine if they don't have any COVID-19 symptoms and wear masks and don’t develop symptoms, according to state officials.

The state unveiled its "Screen and Stay" policy that will now allow some students identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case to remain in school in some circumstances.

The state's Department of Public Health is still encouraging students to get vaccinated.

"The number one way to not get quarantined is if you're vaccinated," said Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani. "The goal here is to help schools and help kids stay in school."

Elizabeth Gallardo has four students inside Hartford Public Schools and believes this initiative will ease the frustration for many families around having to find childcare for kids needing to quarantine when they are determined to be a close contact.

"It's hard to find childcare last minute because I'm a single mom and single parent so that's one of the issues that I have to deal with," said Gallardo.

Students and staff are eligible to participate if the close contact with a COVID-19 case occurs under the following circumstances:

  • Exclusively during the school day (no extracurricular or social contact);
  • If indoors or on a school bus or other school transportation, and both the contact and the COVID-19 case were consistently masked during the exposure even if brief unmasked periods (e.g., snack time, cafeteria) occurred, as long as six feet or more of space was consistently maintained;
  • If outdoors, the individuals were masked or unmasked but were supervised by staff (e.g., mask breaks, physical education, recess);
  • The close contact remains asymptomatic (any symptoms revert to regular isolation/quarantine).

Examples of close contact scenarios that do not support a 'Screen and Stay' approach would be:

  • Contact with a case during interscholastic or other athletic activities (other than during supervised outdoor physical education and recess);
  • Contact occurring during social interactions or similar activities outside of school (e.g., birthday parties, dining out, sleepovers);
  • Contact where the individuals were not consistently and correctly wearing masks indoors and a six-foot distance was not maintained;
  • The contact occurred between members of the same household (i.e., the contact lives with the case);
  • If, upon return to school, the contact cannot consistently and correctly wear a mask.
Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a new Screen and Stay initiative for Connecticut schools that choose to participate. Under the new plan, students and staff who are not fully vaccinated would be able to stay in school after close contact with someone who has COVID-19 in certain situations.
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