CONNECTICUT — Gov. Ned Lamont said that there is a strong inclination to have public school students in the classroom come the fall, but the state is still working on plans to keep potential infections to a minimum.
“Schools will be back in the fall,” Lamont said. “My thinking on this is ... the size of a class is important … but just as important, even more important is the cohorting.”
The governor made the comments during an interview Wednesday on the Chaz and AJ show on 99.1 PLR.
Guidance is still being worked on, but ideally students will stay within the same cohort to help limit any potential spread of the virus, Lamont said. That is easier to implement on the elementary school level, but doing that at the high school level is more complicated. Guidance is expected in the coming weeks.
“High school and grade schools will overwhelmingly be in-school,” he said, adding that distance learning if it becomes necessary is easier to implement at the high school level.
Around 95 percent of Connecticut's economy will reopen on June 17 as part of the second reopening phase. It includes many indoor half-capacity businesses like dining, gyms and movie theaters.
Hospital capacity is one of the state’s biggest metrics for whether to delay a reopening phase, Lamont said. Currently, there are fewer than 300 people hospitalized for COVID-related reasons, according to the state Department of Public Health.
More flexibility for outdoor events will come in July in the third reopening phase as long as Connecticut stays the course during the coronavirus battle, Lamont said.
Guidance will also eventually come for large outdoor concerts at places like the Toyota Oakdale Theater, Lamont said. Outdoor concerts could potentially be allowed later this summer if the state stays on track with keeping coronavirus hospitalizations down.
Wedding guidance will be coming in the next week or two, Lamont said; for him this one hits home because his daughter plans to get married on Labor Day weekend. The governor has previously said that weddings pose a particular challenge given that cake is being shared, beverages are being consumed and there is often dancing and mingling.
Even so, one thing that is likely not to change in the near future is mask use.
“I have a feeling masks will be with us for a while in particular for folks my age,” Lamont, who is 66 years old, said.