Public schools in Connecticut will fully reopen in the fall with costly new safety measures, including full-time mask-wearing and smaller classrooms, state officials announced today.
Gov. Ned Lamont and state Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said the return to school will come with drastic changes to the classroom environment.
Districts will likely have to hire more teachers to reduce class sizes in order to maintain 6 feet of separation between students. Classrooms might move outside or into spaces like a gymnasium retrofitted to accommodate social distancing.
Lunch in the cafeteria will be a thing of the past, with students eating in their classrooms or outdoors.
Custodians will work throughout the day to clean buildings and surfaces that students touch. Bean bag chairs and rugs will be removed from the classrooms because they are difficult to clean.
Districts may have to schedule more bus runs to minimize how many students travel together to school and stagger dismissal times to prevent large groups of children walking or taking the bus home together.
“We want districts to plan for all students returning in the fall. We are having districts plan for a full fall reopening and a distance learning option,” Cardona said.
The state also said districts should offer students the opportunity to participate in class remotely if their families do not feel safe sending them to school.
Periodic testing of students and staff for the virus is not part of the state’s reopening plan. State officials said they may reduce bus capacity and enforce social distancing if it’s determined there is a moderate spread of the virus.
With this announcement, the governor said his administration now plans to survey districts to see how much these safeguards will cost -– and determine how much funding the state can provide to cover the additional expense.
Click HERE for the executive summary of Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning
Click HERE for the presentation on Connecticut’s 2020-21 school planning
—CTMirror.org contributed reporting