HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- As many businesses have already reopened after being shut down or limited during the coronavirus pandemic, a look at a plan for schools this fall was released on Thursday.

Governor Ned Lamont was joined by Education Commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona to provide details about the reopening plan for schools in the fall. 

Survey: Nearly 3,000 teachers weigh in on what needs to happen before schools open

During the daily press briefing, Cardona announced all districts should prepare for a full reopening of schools in the fall. 

RELATED: Gov. Lamont aiming to release school plan next week

Cardona said the reopening will require students and staff to wear facial coverings while on buses and during the school day.

He said students will be able to take masks off when they go outside and "mask breaks" will be part of the reopening plan. 

"If we say masks are optional, then there's a very good likelihood that many students are going to choose not to do it and then we're creating a greater risk and then we have to worry about teachers and if we're protecting our staff," Cardona said. 

He also said that desks should be moved as far away from each other as the classrooms allow. Social distancing will also force schools to convert spaces, which many impact sports and theater. 

"Using gymnasiums, auditoriums to maximize social distancing," Cardona explained. 

Many students will be separated by grade and urged not to interact with students outside of their group. Cardona explains the term known as "cohorting." 

"Each team functions independently from others as much as possible. K through 8 is when it's most likely to be possible. In high school, we're promoting wherever that's possible, sometime you can do the 9th grade teams," Cardona said. 

For buses, facial coverings will be required and districts are encouraged to used bus monitors during the fall. 

Social distancing will be activated on the buses based on community spread. 

“We’re planning to open our schools. K-12, normal five days a week,” Lamont had said on Thursday.

After a school year where the country was introduced to “distance learning,” the state is hopeful things can get back to normal in the fall.

We want to get our kids back to school,” Lamont said. “It’s been too long, we’re doing a lot with distance learning, but there’s nothing like the classroom.”

Cardona said frequent hand washing and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures will also be required for each school district. 

For parents who have reservations about the plan, on Face the State, Cardona urged districts to give them options. 

"If they choose to keep their children home because they're not ready, then districts should offer the opportunity to continue distance learning until families are ready to send students back," Cardona said. 

To see the full summary of the school planning from the state, click here

The specific details to the plan will be released on Monday. 

During a special edition of Face the State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Channel 3’s Dennis House spoke with the state’s education commissioner.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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