When a student has close contact with someone with Covid-19 the state protocol is to quarantine for 10 days. That means some of Connecticut's youngest citizens are missing out on school.
“I have a 9-year-old at home and if someone on his bus tests positive he has to miss 10 days of school he loves school,” Michael Brandon of Tolland says.
Rep. Greg Howard, R-Stonington, is also a parent of two young children and wants to see the state change its quarantine rules.
“It’s a huge burden on working families, you know when all of a sudden you have your 8-year-old or your 9-year-old who can’t be home by themselves and both parents work now they have to make arrangements for four or five work days,” Howard says.
He says in neighboring Massachusetts it’s different. Kids can test to stay in school.
“A combination of the test and stay or rapid testing, but ensure they’re identifying these close contacts like we are and instead of saying stay home for 10 days they’re saying you can come in and get a test everyday and you can stay,” Howard says. “They have saved something like 18,000 in-person learning days, not hours, 18,000 in-person learning days for their kids.”
Howard says a 10-day quarantine caused the loss of seven or eight in-person learning days for 150 kids in North Stonington. That means over 1,000 days of lost in-person learning over a six week period. In Stonington 98 students lost 700 days.
Lora Rae Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Lamont administration says “our administration is currently working closely with the departments of education and public health to develop an updated policy that will help keep children in school while keeping our school environments protected from Covid-19. We plan to share more details once this work is finalized in the coming weeks."
“They’re losing the education they need. They’re being isolated from their peers,” Liz Rivera of Springfield, Massachusetts says. “That takes a mental toll.”
“We have got to prioritize getting our kids back caught up in their education,” Howard says.