Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — As the new school year recently commenced, more than a dozen public schools across Connecticut have temporarily shut down classroom learning due to Coronavirus cases among students and staff, as administrators ask for transparency in school closure recommendations from the state.
Gov. Ned Lamont said that schools should not shut down just because of a single case, particularly at the K through 8 level where most districts are cohorting students.
“I think it’s worth remembering that of all the schools that have been opened, some full-time, some part-time, we have had 32 infections,” Lamont said. “That’s 32 out of six or seven hundred thousand students and teachers and administrators so it’s a much lower positivity rate than we’re used to seeing in the general population right now.”
Lamont said that confusion is warranted during the pandemic.
“There will be some confusion, but generally that means a class is being quarantined if there happens to be an infection,” Lamont said.
As of Monday afternoon, at least 11 schools had closed for at least a day due to a coronavirus case, in addition to the entire New Milford school district, which includes five schools and the Litchfield Hills Transition Center for young adults with disabilities.
High schools around the state closed due to positive cases, including schools in West Haven, Westbrook and Killingly, Dag Hammarskjold Middle School in Wallingford and the Tisdale School in Bridgeport.
West Haven Superintendent of Schools Neil Cavallaro said that schools must cooperate with the proper buildings to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“In accordance with the CDC recommendations, Connecticut public schools are not conducting widespread or regular testing of students and staff,” Cavallaro said. “When a student or staff member decides to get tested and tests positive, school administrators and local health officials must conduct contact tracing.”
Cavallaro said that he is thinking of all options available in any case schools have to be shut down.
“There’s going to be positive cases,” Cavallaro said. “ I think what’s going to happen is, as we move into the school year, we will refine our process of when we will decide to close schools or what’s going to be the ultimate factor in us closing schools.”
All decisions to close down schools will be decided from other pertinent officials, according to Lamont.
“If we think people are getting too remissive or too restrictive, maybe Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health or Miguel Cardona, state education commissioner, will reach out to them,” he said.