There is still a bit of summer left, but the new school year will be here before we know it and on Tuesday, state leaders discussed back-to-school guidance for the 2022-2023 school year.
Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said Tuesday that the number one way to keep children in schools and prevent COVID-19 breakouts is vaccination and all school-age children are eligible for one.
Up until now, the guidance has been to stay home if you have any COVID-19 symptoms and children were out of school for several days. Now, Juthani said, we have diagnosis, treatment and prevention and once you have that, you have to think about the overall well-being of the children.
The CDC lists community COVID-19 levels and New Haven County hit the high, orange mark. Juthani said they are monitoring it closely. Right now, they are recommending wearing masks indoors in any public indoor setting in New Haven County.
Following is information from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), State Department of Education (CSDE), and Office of Early Childhood
COVID-19 VACCINATION CLINICS
Vaccination clinics will be organized for all 36 of Connecticut’s Alliance School Districts that are open to school, child care, and youth camp staff, students, and families in those communities.
Self-test kits will be available for free to all Connecticut schools, child care programs, and youth camps to distribute to their students, staff and service providers. The state has ordered approximately 2.5 million self-test kits -- 5 million individual tests -- for distribution to school districts and early childhood education programs. The State plans to order additional self-test kits for distribution to licensed child care programs and operating youth camps throughout Connecticut as well.
Test-Mask-Go is an optional strategy designed to increase the number of days of in-person learning and care available to children. Schools, child care programs and camp operators choosing this strategy can give children and staff with mild respiratory disease symptoms -- infrequent cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, etc.-- the option to continue participating in-person provided:
- they are fever-free (< 100°F) and feel well enough to participate
- they do not live with anyone who has had COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks
- they can wear a mask consistently and correctly (if facility operators require them to do so) and
- they test negative for COVID-19 prior to reporting in-person on every day they have symptoms, as well as one final test on the morning their symptoms have completely resolved.
Individuals who have any respiratory disease symptoms should not use the Test-Mask-Go strategy if:
- they have a fever (≥ 100°F) or feel feverish (they should not report in-person until their fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of medication)
- they live with a person who recently tested positive for COVID-19 (within the past 2 weeks)
- Instead, these individuals should stay home until their symptoms resolve and test for COVID-19.
Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 should complete isolation according to the CDC Q/I Calculator.
Juthani, Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker and other officials held a news conference in Hartford Tuesday morning to announce the details of “Launching into Healthy Learning,” which officials said provides school districts with recommendations, tools and strategies they can use to reduce learning disruptions and keep students and staff safely in school.
In July, the Connecticut State Department of Education announced an update of the Connecticut Learning Hub for the 2022-2023 school year, where students, families and educators can access resources intended to accelerate learning in the classroom and advance equity in the educational system.
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