Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer for many and soon, thousands of students from across the state will be going back to school.
“Finally starting school. She is very happy going to school,” said Howard Francis of Hartford.
Francis’ daughter will begin classes on Tuesday where some grades are all in-person and a few at the high school level are hybrid.
Francis is preparing his daughter for her return to school, including wearing a mask.
“I’m trying to, you know, get used to it and get her, you know, to acknowledge this is the new normal. This is what we have to do now. So it’s a work in progress,” said Francis.
Other Connecticut schools starting on Tuesday include Manchester, New Britain, Norwich, Waterbury and West Hartford, where Jennifer Downs’ kids attend school.
“They’ve laid out what sounds like a really good plan for the kids. They’re going to have them wear masks. They’re going to have them in pretty small cohorts. I think there’s only going to be like six or seven kids actually in the classroom with our kids at the same time,” said Downs.
Many school districts have already gone back in the state.
Last week, when we spoke with Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona at an event in Meriden, he told us remote learning will never match the in-class experience. But he believes a full return to the classroom should be based more on safety than just doing it quickly.
“I don’t want to set a date but I do think once we get started and we get into the routines and we know those health and safety protocols are in place, we should think about how to ramp up just like how we’re telling districts if the health metrics require we need to ramp down,” said Cardona.
For now, parents are optimistic though they realize it won’t be an easy year.
“I wish we could go back full time. I wish we were at a better place where we could feel confident to do that. Because I think online weeks are still going to be difficult. It’s hard to do two curricula with kids in two different grades,” said Downs.
In West Hartford, they’re planning on starting school with a hybrid model. And then depending on the health data, they could expand to full in-person learning in October beginning with the elementary schools.