Connecticut Governor Closes Schools for Remainder of Academic Year

AP Photo/Jessica Hill
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced Tuesday K-12 public schools will remain closed for the duration of the academic year due to the coronavirus crisis.

The governor said in a statement:

I know how important it is for so many students and teachers to finish out the school year, and I was holding out hope – particularly for high school seniors – that we’d at least be able to complete the final few weeks, but given the current circumstances and to protect everyone’s safety, it has become clear that it’s just not possible. I want to thank the many educators across our state who have stepped up to provide remote learning during this time, as well as the many staff members who’ve been putting thousands of meals together for students each and every day.

According to the executive order, schools will continue to provide distance learning and meals to children who received breakfast and lunch in school.

The announcement states Connecticut’s public schools “have served more than four million meals to students” during the coronavirus crisis.

“A total of 130 school districts are currently serving meals at 458 locations statewide,” it read.

Lamont ordered cancellation of in-person classes on March 17, and then extended the order twice, with the latest extension date being May 20.

“The difficult decision to cancel classes for the remainder of the year is based on the health and safety of our students, their families, and our Connecticut communities,” Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona also said in the statement.

The Connecticut Education Association (CEA), the largest union representing the state’s public school teachers, released a statement in support of Lamont’s decision:

CEA applauds Governor Lamont for listening to public health experts in his decision to close schools for the remainder of this school year. Making the safety and health of students and staff the top priority will help save lives and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

“We understand the emotion and sadness regarding closing schools and missing certain milestones and celebrations, but at this time, everyone’s top priority must be to protect the health of students and staff, and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said CEA President Jeff Leake.

“This crisis is not over,” Leake added:

[E]xperts say a resurgence of the virus could occur this fall. We must use the next few months to ensure that safety procedures and protocols are in place before students, teachers, and staff re-enter the classrooms.

These are unprecedented times, and they call for unprecedented responses. It is critical that the state and municipalities meet their responsibility to fund the resources students need when they return to the classroom—teachers, counselors, psychologists and strong academic programs.

Cardona added his department is “constantly improving access to high-quality materials and connectivity for our students.”

“Districts are working hard to find creative ways to celebrate the success of our seniors, as well as students who are transitioning from fifth and eighth grade,” he said, stating the panel working to reopen Connecticut is working on plans for summer school.

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