Connecticut students have been staying home from school and taking part in distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor said Tuesday that the date for distance learning will continue until will be extended past April 20, but it’s not yet clear how long the extension will go.
“You saw some of our modeling the other day that does suggest that we’ll be at the back end of the pandemic, but we still have infections going on into June, so that makes you wonder exactly how and when we could open the school year this year,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.
The governor issued declarations of public health and civil preparedness on March 10 and later cancelled in-person classes from March 17 to March 31.
On March 24, the governor extended the cancellation of classes at all public school to April 20.
The state has 6,906 confirmed cases of coronavirus and there have been 206 deaths.
The governor’s executive order directing Connecticut residents to "Stay Safe, Stay Home" orders all nonessential businesses statewide to prohibit in-person functions until April 22, unless modified.
Personal Protective Equipment Supplies
Governor Lamont said hospitals across the state, including in Fairfield County, are still operating with some capacity for new patients.
"So far, too early to say for sure but we may be have flattened [the curve] just enough," Lamont said.
The governor said he is on the phone daily with the White House to ask for additional supplies and resources. While he believes that the situation with personal protective equipment has gotten better, Lamont said he is still on the phone trying to get masks and other supplies from overseas.
Many governors have expressed their disappointment or displeasure at each state having to fend for itself to purchase supplies as opposed to the federal government purchasing those products on a large scale.
Lamont said the state's partnership with New York and New Jersey has helped greatly. He said the state's purchasing departments are working together to buy products on a regional basis.
How Does CT Come Out of Stay at Home Order?
"I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball, we're going to have this stay at home order for sometime and we're going to be strict about social distancing," Lamont said.
Once the coronavirus pandemic is on the downcurve, the state will look at using antibody testing among younger residents to see who might have immunity.
"They can be the first ones to get back to work," the governor said. "We'll do this in a safe and thoughtful way."
Domestic Violence Concerns
The state's 211 hotline can take calls from anyone who feels they are at risk of domestic violence, Lamont said.
At least 14 hotels are working with the state helping provide rooms to those at risk.
Crowding at State Parks
State parks have been filling up fast, especially with the nice, warm weather the last few days. Full parking lots have lead to the closure of those parks and raised concerns over social distancing.
Lamont said right now there are no plans for widespread park closures.
"I don't want to close state parks, that keeps us sane to have a nice walk with social distancing," the governor said.