See You in September?

Much to Weigh Before Schools Reopen

Dave Mager
May 05, 2020 - 8:04 pm
CT DPH COVID-19 Update graphic, 5/5/20

CT Governor's Office/ @CTDPH

Connecticut has joined 45 other states in shuttering school buildings for the rest of the current school year.

Plans for a fall reopening are uncertain. Gov. Ned Lamont and state education officials suggest that "distance learning," which they deem a success, might return in some form. 

Notes from Gov. Lamont's Tuesday news briefing, and more:

NOT OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER

Education Commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona reminds students that, although the 2019-20 school year looks and feels different, there's about a month remaining.

"Your teacher, school and district leaders and staff are committed to supporting your learning for the remainder of the school year," says Cardona.

He tells seniors that school and community leaders are working "to find a safe and appropriate way to honor your accomplishments."

DISTANCE LEARNING COULD RETURN

The governor says his Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group is working with the state Department of Education on plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. 

A traditional, full late summer return to school is in doubt. Online classes will be used again if traditional school openings are "phased in."

The co-chair of the governor's COVID-19 Learn From Home Task Force, Guilford Public Schools Superintendant Paul Freeman, says this spring's experience with online learning will give schools a running start.

"Districts are going to be able to leverage technology tools better, and differently, moving forward," says  "We need to be careful about what September is going to look like. I know that people have talked about, 'it's not going to be easy as flipping a swtich and going back to normal,' so if schools have to open in some kind of reduced or modified capacity, then these resources are going to be important and valuable in that condition as well."

UPDATE ON LAPTOP DISTRIBUTION

Thousands of donated laptops have not arrived in the hands of students in need, but Superintendant Freeman, in an interview with WTIC, said all of those devices (almost 60,000) should make an impact, even if it's not until this fall. 

He says the first shipment of 17,000 Dell computers should arrive late this month, with much of that distrubution going to students in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport and Waterbury. The last shipments won't make it until late June or July.

"We know that those devices are still going to be important resources for school districts as they reopen from this closure. And, as distance learning remains at least a portion of what we're going to be doing in schools for at least some time to come, if not indefinitely, we're still really excited that we're getting these resources in the hands of school districts and needy kids."

DPH STATISTICS, 5/5/20

--2,633 deaths (+77)

--30,261 known COVID-19 cases (+648)

--108,643 tests completed (roughly 3.2% of state population)

--Canaan (pop. 1,200) and Scotland (pop. 1,700) are the final two municipalities in the state reporting zero cases