new haven

Groups Call for Delay in New Haven Schools Reopening

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A coalition of groups is calling for a delay in next week’s planned reopening of some schools in New Haven.

The city has kept theirs closed since the beginning of the pandemic, unlike almost every other district in the state which had resumed at least some in-person learning.

“COVID rates are as high as they’ve ever been here,” said Sarah Miller of New Haven.

Miller said she and other parents are worried about pre-K through fifth-grade students starting hybrid learning in New Haven on Tuesday.

“A lot of fear that that the reopening of schools is going to put us as a community at greater risk,” said Miller.

Miller’s group – New Haven Public School Advocates – joined others representing teachers, parents, community activists and religious leaders to send a letter to the mayor and district leaders.

They’re calling for the return to be delayed until at least Feb. 1.

“There’s still confusion out there on a lot of different things,” said David Cicarella, New Haven Federation of Teachers president.

Cicarella said policies need to be cleared up for staff and families.

He also believes the district’s reopening plan is outdated and incomplete, including when it comes to infection control, PPE supplies and basic school operations.

“It’s a good starting point. A lot of good information there. But there are some things, six, seven months later, they’re now missing and we need to update those,” said Cicarella.

But Superintendent Iline Tracey calls the letter just the latest attempt to push back reopening.

“Enough is enough. From my point of view, we have done I would say more than any school system anywhere in making our schools ready for opening,” said Tracey.

She said the district’s plan is extensive including having a nurse in each building, improved ventilation and new signage.

Tracey said her team thinks research shows classrooms are safe for elementary students and she said some parents have pushed for their kids to be back.

“I have had tons of emails from families begging, asking, 'Would you please for our children? My children are not doing well. They’re struggling. They need to be in person,'” said Tracey.

At this point, students in grades six through 12 will remain remote. The superintendent said that could change when the health data supports it.

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