Lamont doesn't want schools to close because of isolated coronavirus cases

Published on Monday, 14 September 2020 13:40
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HARTFORD - Connecticut's governor said Monday he does not want to see schools closing their buildings because of isolated coronavirus cases.

A number of schools across the state switched temporarily to online learning on Monday because of positive coronavirus tests.

But speaking on WNPR radio Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont said he does not believe that is the correct approach to handling limited outbreaks.

“No, no, no, no,” he said. “Especially for K through 8, we’re trying to keep that 4th grade class unto itself as a pod as a cohort. So that if there happens to be an infection in that one class, it’s just those 20 students and that teacher who would have to quarantine - not the entire middle school or not the entire school.”

Students at East Hartford, Westbrook and West Haven high schools have all announced they will switch to remote learning until Thursday after students tested positive for the virus in those buildings.

Killingly High School and Bridgeport's Tisdale School were closed for at least Monday after positive tests there. It was not clear when those schools will reopen to in-person learning.

The Dag Hammarskjold Middle School in Wallingford said it will be closed until Wednesday at the earliest while the local health department conducts contact tracing on a member of the school community who received a positive coronavirus test.

The Chase Elementary School in Waterbury remains open, but students in a specific classroom have been ordered into quarantine after a classmate tested positive. That class will switch to remote learning through Thursday.

All those schools have said they will conduct deep cleaning during the closures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Connecticut's Department of Public Health has issued guidelines for schools on how to handle virus outbreaks but has left the decisions on whether or not to close up to districts.

“We're working every day with the superintendents; every day with the principals,“ Lamont said. ”So far, I think they're doing pretty well.”

The state has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases recently among people ages 10 to 25, the Health Department said. The state was expected to update its coronavirus number Monday afternoon.

Connecticut ended last week with an overall infection rate of over 1% for three consecutive days.

Lamont said schools have been doing a good job of contact tracing and it is important that kids get back into the classroom.

“Let's put this into context,” Lamont said. “We're still one of the lowest states in terms on infection rates in the country."

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Monday, 14 September 2020 13:40. Updated: Monday, 14 September 2020 13:42.