School officials say a new voluntary program that allows students to stay in the classroom after being exposed to someone who has Covid-19 is working.
“It’s great because we’re really reducing the number of kids that are quarantined,” Newington Superintendent Maureen Brummet says.
Brummet says even without any data the program seems to be working.
“Early in the school year we were quarantining kids quite frequently. I’ve had in my district alone over 100 Covid cases this year,” she says.
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Some of those are breakthrough cases of vaccinated staff or students.
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“Parents still hold the cards in this. If they’re concerned about their child they still keep them home. The screen to stay has the option for family empowerment and decision making,” Connecticut Education Association President Kate Dias says.
That’s part of why Dias likes the screen and stay program.
She says teachers are telling her: “they are seeing fewer students being out from quarantine so that’s a positive. It’s only been in play for a little bit.”
Gov. Ned Lamont announced the program on Nov. 4. The state still doesn’t have data on how many school districts are participating.
“This piece gives us a feeling of safety because families are checking the kids every day and we’re feeling good about that but it also gives us that continuity which we really treasure,” Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, says.
Rabinowitz says quarantining impacts the entire community.
“You had families who had to take off of work to be home with their kids if they were quarantined,” she says.
Families will have to be extra vigilant over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Screen and Stay only applies to school-based exposure so if a student over vacation or holiday break is exposed to a relative with Covid they will still have to quarantine,” Brummet says.