The formal plan for reopening Connecticut schools in the fall has been released as the state recovers from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
On Monday, June 29, the Connecticut State Department of Education released “Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together,” a roadmap for districts as they prepare to reopen for the academic year in the fall.
“In addition to Connecticut’s successful COVID-19 containment efforts, this operating model was selected based on feedback from a wide range of educational stakeholders and public health officials in support of the effectiveness of in-school instruction,” officials said.
“The benefits include structure in place to ensure safety protocols, providing for students’ social-emotional well-being, and mitigating any barriers to accessing equitable opportunities that increased during the pandemic.”
The plan includes operations plans, health practices, health monitoring, containment, remote learning, engagement, and other plans for students, families, and educators.
Connecticut Health Commissioner Miguel Cardona 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. ‘Adapt, Advance, Achieve’ is the first step.”
The measures Connecticut schools will be taking came following input from students, teachers, parents, principals, superintendents, and other educational leaders, as well as feedback from a public survey.
According to officials, the guidance and considerations outlined in “Adapt, Advance, Achieve” are grounded in six guiding principles:
- Safeguarding the health and safety of students and staff;
- Allowing all students the opportunity to return into the classrooms full time starting in the fall;
- Monitoring the school populations and, when necessary, potentially canceling classes in the future to appropriately contain COVID-19 spread;
- Emphasizing equity, access, and support to the students and communities who are emerging from this historic disruption;
- Fostering strong two-way communication with partners such as families, educators and staff; and
- Factoring into decisions about reopening the challenges to the physical safety and social-emotional well-being of our students when they are not in school.
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