The State Board of Education today voted to offer a waiver to Connecticut school districts for three of the 180 days usually required by state statute. Those three days could instead be used at the start of the school year for additional PD for staff, classroom set-up for educators, to provide social emotional services or training for staff, or for similar supports for families and students.
During a press conference yesterday, Governor Lamont said that he will make a final call in early August as to whether schools can open safely for in-person learning—based on the COVID-19 infection rate in the state at that time.
“We have the challenge of having to be ready to change course at any given point, which logistically is very difficult,” Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said. “I recognize the fear and anxiety that exists, and I share a lot of the concerns. As much as Connecticut is doing well, COVID knows no state boarders.”
State Department of Education officials reported that the Department has been receiving lots of emails from educators and parents.
They also said that the Department is working with pediatricians and districts’ medical advisors to set up virtual office hours so that families can get information on keeping children healthy as they return to school.
Although the Department is not officially approving reopening plans that districts are required to submit by July 24, Cardona said that there is a review process and that staff at the Department is reaching out to districts whose draft plans don’t fit with the three models required by the state.
The Department is using $4 million of federal CARES funding to purchase 10,000 additional devices for the 10 most disadvantaged districts in the state. The Department hopes to help districts provide sufficient devices for all families who choose distance learning for their children this fall.