coronavirus in connecticut

‘Take it One Week at a Time;' Lamont Pushes to Keep Schools Open

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The governor is sticking to his call that students should remain in schools as long as possible.

It comes as more students switch over to virtual learning as districts deal with rising COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

“His school already texts me with COVID cases popping up,” said Jocelyn Vasquez of New Britain.

Vasquez said for now she won’t be sending her son to kindergarten in-person in New Britain.

“His asthma makes it even scarier for me thinking that’s an underlying condition. For me I just think it’s safer for him to be home right now,” said Vasquez.

On Wednesday, the Consolidated School District of New Britain announced a confirmed case at DiLoreto Elementary & Middle School and another case at Jefferson Elementary, both of which forced some people to quarantine.

Another school – Gaffney Elementary - will switch to virtual learning on Thursday through Thanksgiving break because of a staff shortage.

Overall the district believes mitigation strategies are working and they are following state advice not to close preemptively because of worries about future virus activity.

“Whatever restrictions we have to take we’re doing it so we can keep our schools open and make sure our kids have the option of in-person learning,” said Gov. Ned Lamont, D – Connecticut.

In a video posted from quarantine, Lamont argued state COVID-related rules, including for restaurants and bars, help prevent school closures.

“Take it one week at a time. But every week makes an enormous difference. We all know it’s the safest place to be, wearing a mask in the classroom. Certainly the best opportunity for a good education,” said Lamont.

But around the state many districts are moving to virtual for long periods – including Waterbury – amid an uptick in cases and fears about what will happen around the holidays.

State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said they have provided guidelines with flexibility, though acknowledges districts might need to expand online as cases increase or if they do not have enough staff.

“Do I think the state has to take a bigger role? What we have found is that nobody knows your community better than the local superintendent and the principals and the teachers and their health directors,” said Cardona.

New Britain schools said 71 students and staff have tested positive so far and of those four cases were transmitted in the schools.

They point out in those four cases proper precautions had not been followed.

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