In a radio interview today Governor Lamont said that he thinks it is likely that school closures will extend through the end of the school year.
“I really think that’s a likelihood,” said Lamont, who has officially closed schools until April 20. “You worry if people get back too quickly, there will be a second iteration of this virus. So April 20 is the minimum—it’s probably the school year.”
“The Governor is looking at this public health crisis as potentially lasting a longer period of time than initially thought, which he has said publicly before and is consistent with federal CDC suggestions of class cancellations for up to 6-8 weeks,” spokesman Max Reiss said. “Governor Lamont is telling school systems they must be prepared for a potentially unprecedented break from classes being held at schools as a result of the coronavirus to ensure students, teachers, staff and parents are safe. The goal is to have frank discussions with superintendents and the education community as this situation unfolds.”
“First and foremost our priority is the safety of our students, our teachers, and our communities and ensuring students continue learning in the midst of this public health emergency,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “We strongly agree with Governor Lamont’s decision to keep schools closed until April 20 and possibly until the end of the school year. The common belief is that things will get worse before they get better and keeping schools closed until the fall may be necessary to keep everyone safe and prevent the disease from spreading. In the meantime, our dedicated, professional educators are doing all they can to keep their students engaged and learning in today’s reality.”
“Our educators haven’t skipped a beat and are supporting students not only academically but socially and emotionally,” said Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. Speaking about efforts to deliver educational equity and access in Connecticut, especially during the current public health crisis, Cardona called teachers heroes, saying, “It still takes a village to raise a child. We’re going to tackle this—access to education—together.”
As part of that village-wide effort, Governor Lamont also announced today that, on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of laptop donations for high school students, former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and her husband plan to make a donation of high-quality, take-home books from Scholastic. The books will support reading and writing instruction for more than 185,000 prekindergarten to 8th grade students while they learn from home. The Governor’s COVID-19 Learn from Home Task Force will coordinate with superintendents across the state and inform them of their ability to opt-in or opt-out of the Scholastic program.
To support students learning from home, nearly every internet provider in the state has signed onto the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge. This means that internet providers will:
- Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers due to an inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to COVID-19 disruption.
- Open all WiFi hotspots to the general public.
Certain internet providers are taking steps to cover additional residents in the state. Click here to learn more about other offers companies are providing
Despite the support from businesses and philanthropies this remains a challenging time for many students and teachers. CEA wants to hear from you. Share your concerns or issues with what is going on in your district or with online learning, as well as best practices and stories about what’s happening, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.