High-risk Connecticut municipalities deciding what to do about schools
HARTFORD — Schools in several Connecticut municipalities that were put on high alert by the state because of rising coronavirus numbers have paused in-person learning, but others have decided to keep their schools open.
The state designated 11 municipalities — Hartford, Danbury, Norwich, New London, Canterbury, East Lyme, Griswold, Montville, Preston, Sprague, Windham as “red zones” last week because of the high number of daily positive COVID-19 cases.
Those cities and towns now have discretion to roll back from Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan to Phase 2, under an executive order from Gov. Ned Lamont. In addition to reducing the number of people allowed to dine at restaurants and gather in groups, the state also recommends canceling public events.
Tracy Youngberg, Windham's school superintendent, announced in a letter to families Friday that students will shift from a hybrid to a remote learning model until at least Oct. 30.
She wrote that while the evidence suggests the schools are not the source of any outbreak, "the recent spike in town cases has exhibited a negative impact on student and staff attendance, caused elevated anxiety levels, and is dominating our district’s day-to-day operations.”
The town of Griswold has also announced it is closing its school buildings.
Other districts, including New London, East Lyme, Sprague, Montville, Canterbury and Preston, said they will continue to keep schools open.
“There is no substitution to direct instruction and the benefits of consistent routines,” Canterbury Superintendent Steven Rioux told families. “However, there may be a time when we need to revert to a hybrid learning model or a full-remote learning model.”
Danbury has been under a learn-at-home model since the start of the school year and Norwich went full remote earlier this month after a spike in COVID-19 cases there.
Hartford was expected to update its education plan on Monday.
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