HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Connecticut schools remained committed to a full return in the fall.
More details of the plan are emerging, and they could include one-way traffic down hallways, in-classroom lunches, and front-facing desks.
There are still many concerns.
Each district will need to come up with a unique plan. They’ve been given guidelines, but the details didn’t really cover how this is supposed to be executed.
The 50-page outline released by the State Department of Education gives the guidelines for districts to meeting to reopen in the fall.
“Those are the guardrails that are going to guide the development on the local level,” said Dr. Miguel Cardona, Commissioner of Education.
Those guardrails include mandatory masks on the bus and in the classroom, building inspections to ensure adequate ventilation and designated health rooms in the event a student develops symptoms.
Each local district has until July 24 to create its plan.
Jeff Leake, president of the Connecticut Education Association, the largest teacher’s union in the state, says the plan asks for a lot, but offers little guidance.
“It appears to say these are important things to consider, you figure out how to do them, and by the way, we know your resources are limited, but figure it out anyway,” Leake said.
To ensure safety, the state’s plan calls for classes to be grouped together in an effort to minimize any potential spread of the virus. If a student tests positive, the response will be handled on a case by cases basis.
“Depending on whether there are siblings or what type of contact a student has had, it could change whether it’s a classroom or a larger group of students who quarantine,” Cardona said.
The plan hasn’t instilled confidence in some parents, but families can choose to continue online learning if they are more comfortable with that.
“We’ll open our doors to students when their families are comfortable sending them to school,” Cardona said.
Educators had those same concerns about safety. In an earlier survey, 43 percent of teachers said they were at high risk for the virus. They may be at home, running the online teaching.
Leake says funding remains a big concern because many health experts predict a second wave of the virus in the fall and he says no real strides have been made to prepare for the effects of going back to full-time distance learning.
“They either didn’t have the devices of they didn’t have the internet connection,” Leake said.
There’s less than a month for districts to figure all of this out. Each district will need to submit the plan to the state and also post it online so parents can see what’s in store for their children.