Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Sunday he worries that putting a pause on reopening schools could lead to a “lost year of education,” while images of tightly packed hallways at a K-12 school raise new fears that overcrowding could facilitate coronavirus transmission.
“I do not want a lost year. When everybody says, ‘Let’s not go back to school until it is perfectly safe, until we have a vaccine, until 100 percent of the people are vaccinated,’ I worry that could be a lost year of education,” Lamont said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Every state has been dealing with how to safely reopen schools amid the pandemic, or whether to do so at all. Some have opted for online-only classes to start the year, others have adopted a hybrid plan, and some have forged ahead with full in-person classes. Connecticut, with a low infection rate, is set to reopen. “We're doing it led by public health, making sure everybody's wearing the masks,“ Lamont said.
Lamont’s remarks came in response to a question from host Margaret Brennan about how much damage was caused from 143,000 Connecticut kids who did not log on for remote learning in March, April and May, according to state data — and how to prevent this from happening again should the schools have to be shut down.
“We do need a backup plan,” the governor continued. He said the state has purchased 100,000 Chromebooks that will be installed in every young student’s home, expanded WiFi for students and teachers, so people can connect through Zoom.
“But, what about those kids who just didn't log on at all in the spring?” Brennan pressed.
“It’s a tragedy. We made it available to everybody we could,” Lamont said.
However, that does require a lot of parental supervision to ensure that kids are logging into virtual classrooms, he added. The state will aim to have better coordination with parents and provide a telephone backup plan.
Nine people tested positive for the coronavirus at a Georgia high school, where viral images spread last week of students without masks, pressed close together in hallways, according to a letter sent to parents over the weekend.