first day of school

Thousands More Kids in Conn. Head Back to School Today

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Thousands more kids in at least 10 towns across the state are heading back to school today, but not everyone will start their day in school buildings.

One of the towns starting today is Farmington. The district is starting with a hybrid model as they push to have everyone back in-person learning by mid-to-late October.

Students in Farmington are split into two groups and they will alternate weeks. One group will attend school all next week while the second group works from home then they'll switch.

It's a model many districts are using to help keep everyone safe, but it also poses challenges for parents who need to find daycare for their kids.

"This is very challenging for parents, especially when you have a school system that is in person for part of the week and at home for part of the week and that’s the challenge," said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

Cecilia Kolenich said she's feeling a nervous excitement about going back to school for her freshman year.

“Very nervous. I think it’ll just be crazy because it’s a new school and I’ve barely been in it, but I’m going to have to wear the mask and keep my distance from everyone and keep with the one way hallways we have," Kolenich said.

She said her parents were split on sending her back, but ultimately decided in-person learning would be best.

“I’m not too concerned. I think it’ll all be very new so I’m going to try to stay safe as best I can. Just by following the rules the teachers have kind of implemented," Kolenich added.

She waited at the bus stop with sophomore Aidan Cooke, who was also excited to be back in the classroom.

“The online school was a bit difficult and some of my friends were feeling the same thing because we like to interact with our teachers but we couldn’t really do that online," Cooke said.

Unfortunately, an added stress of the day was getting to school. Cooke waited 45 minutes and Kolenich waited a full hour in the rain, but the bus never arrived.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the superintendent and she issued a statement saying:

“The health and safety of our students is our top priority.  We are deeply disappointed that two high school  students were waiting for an extended period of time for the bus to arrive.  We did contact our bus provider, M & J, who verified that the bus did go to the stop but arrived minutes earlier than the scheduled time.”  

Another problem some districts are running into is staff shortages. Hamden delayed the opening of school because of it.

Gov. Ned Lamont said he would like to see all teachers return unless they are considered high risk because of their age or pre-existing conditions.

"Miguel Cardona, our Commissioner of Education, has been working very hard in part to allow the paras to be able to come in and help if there’s a need, but I’d like to see the teachers back in the schools as soon as possible," Lamont said.

Other towns going back to school today include:

  • Ansonia
  • Middlebury (Kindergarten)
  • Naugatuck
  • North Branford
  • Southbury (Kindergarten)
  • Griswold
  • Hampton
  • Bolton (Buster)
  • New Fairfield
  • Newtown
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