Connecticut is still finalizing what schools will look like in the fall as the state recovers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, but districts will have the option to be more flexible with their schedules.
The state Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday, July 14 to permit public schools to shorten the academic year by as many as three days, from 180 down to 177, without punishment to permit additional training as schools adjust to the "new normal."
The waiver would allow districts extra time to train staff once plans are finalized for reopening schools in the next month. A decision on reopening in Connecticut is expected in August, Gov. Ned Lamont said.
Lamont said that the three extra days must be taken at the beginning of the school year, and will not be permitted after that.
The Board of Education said that the extra days will also allow time for educators to plan classroom setups and consider changes to facilities to ensure safety for students and staff.
It will also give time for training teachers about the social and emotional concerns some students may have as they transition back to in-person learning.
The state has three levels for reopening to.consider: a full reopening with all students in school five days a week, a hybrid plan where some students attend in-person and some do distance learning, and full distance learning.
Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona previously said that balancing the reopening of schools will be a measured effort, and the state could potentially have to re-evaluate their protocols to adjust “as needed.”
“After consulting extensively with public health officials and our school communities, the evidence is clear that having students physically present in school greatly improves outcomes and our ability to provide for their academic and non-academic needs,” Cardona said.
“When COVID-19 first hit, we were all called on to rise to the challenge and, after witnessing the herculean efforts of teachers, school personnel and families over the past two months, I am confident we will come together stronger than ever to lead the evolution of education in Connecticut.”
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