Students in over four dozen cities and towns across Connecticut are heading back to school today.
In Hartford, students were supposed to start school today. Early this morning, school officials said they were postponing the first day of school after a ransomware virus caused an outage of critical systems. It's unclear when the new first day of school will be.
The city previously said there were still quite a few concerns about starting the new school year.
The first concern is that the district still hasn't heard back from about 1,800 students about whether they're coming into the building to learn.
At this point, Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez has been preparing as if they are going to show up.
Another concern is how they are going to track absenteeism for those learning remotely.
Torres-Rodriguez said they are still waiting for guidance from the state.
More than 25 percent of Hartford Kindergarteners and 30 percent of high school students were regularly absent last year.
"In a district that before COVID had a challenge with chronic absenteeism, absolutely we want to make sure we have many ways to connect with and then monitor connection with our students and our families," Torres-Rodriguez said.
Because of the disconnect, students might miss out on other resources like access to technology and nutrition.
At this point, the district is planning a hybrid model with some students learning at home while others are at school.
For grades K through nine, they'll be in-person five days a week. Grades 10 through 12 will be doing hybrid. Parents always have the option to keep their kids home full time.
Students in Hartford will also be missing out on a welcoming back tradition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pastor A.J. Johnson and other members of the community group, Calling All Brothers, usually line up outside schools in Hartford on the first day to give students an upbeat welcome.
Due to COVID-19, the group had to get a little creative to ensure students could still be welcomed back.
In order to stay safe with COVID-19, Calling All Brothers created a video with some of the group's members and community members to encourage and welcome students back.
In an interview with NBC Connecticut, Johnson said the group is going to miss greeting students back in person.
"It's going to suck terribly not to be there to greet all of our scholars back to school. We're going to miss it. I mean, the guys really enjoy it and it really gives kids a fresh start to new school year," Johnson said.
He added that the group's commitment hasn't changed. The group previously said it spends the school year providing positive male role models to Hartford students and helps keep them engaged in their education.
Other cities and towns that are going back to school today include:
- East Hampton
- Manchester (K-5, 7, 9)
- New Britain
- New Milford
- North Haven
- South Windsor
- West Hartford
- West Haven
- Windsor Locks (Gold)