reopening schools

Governor Meets With Students About Learning During Pandemic, Reopening Schools

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The governor and the commissioner of the state Department of Education will be meeting with students in West Haven this afternoon to talk about learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Ned Lamont and State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona met with a group of students at West Haven High School.

The students said they are planning on going back to campus in the fall.

The governor was asked about testing students and he said students moving into dorms would have to be tested, but not students at the public schools.

When asked what will happen if someone does get sick, he said track and trace is in effect so anyone an infected person reports having been in contact with would be notified.

Cardona asked students how to engage students in the message that we are all in this together and one suggested public service announcements with people who are well-known in the state, including UConn coaches.

He told the students he has a meeting this afternoon on guidance for the arts, like students who play instruments, sports and physical education.

Students across Connecticut were sent home to learn in March, when the governor closed schools to help slow the spread of coronavirus, and they learned remotely for the remainder of the school year.

One education said she wants to get back to make sure students are being taken care of physically and emotionally.

As schools prepare for the coming schools year, the state asked them to submit plans for three scenarios: a full opening of schools, a hybrid model with fewer students in buildings each day and a return to full distance learning.

As school districts prepare to submit their final reopening plans to the state, one independent school says bringing all students back may be impossible.

Today is the deadline for the schools to submit the plans, including how they will group students, requirements for masks, hand washing and best practices, to the Department of Education.

New Haven superintendent Iline Tracey said her district prefers a hybrid plan because parents have a lot of concerns about how the schools will protect the children.

Cardona said he feels there should be an effort to bring students back to school.

Lamont said the infection late is less than 1 percent and getting students into schools in September for face to face learning would be beneficial and officials will be watching the situation.

"We'll see what November brings," Lamont said.

Cardona said they are working on coming up with guidelines and standards for what to do depending on what is happening in the community.

The governor end education commissioners were asked about options for schools to deal with the potential loss of teachers and Cardona said they are working with colleges on an effort to let student teachers work in the buildings during the day and do their classes as night.

One question was about how to make sure the schools are clean.

"This is all of our challenge," Cardona said, and mentioned compliance liaisons as a layer or protection and for people to contact if an issue does arise.

Lamont and Cardona met with the students at West Haven High School.

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