HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — About two-thirds of Connecticut public school students expect to return to classes when the new school year begins in about a month, while 81% of teachers anticipate being back in the classroom, according to a survey released Monday by state education officials.
The survey of more than 200 school districts also showed that just 54% of students expect to ride a bus to school, and many students and teachers remain unsure about their back-to-school plans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And many teachers still have health concerns, Gov. Ned Lamont said during a news conference Monday.
Friday was the deadline for school districts across Connecticut to release their plans for reopening schools in the new school year. Some districts, like New Haven, are planning “hybrid models” where students alternate between in-class and distance learning.
Lamont, state Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and other officials have expressed confidence that students can return safely to in-person classes, with mask-wearing, social distancing and other coronavirus precautions, given that the state's infection rate remains low.
“Everybody's anxious. It's our kids. What could be more important?” the Democratic governor said.
But he added, “The state is there to backstop every single one of our school districts when it comes to public health and public safety. We’ll be there for the (personal protective equipment). We’ll be there for the masks. We’ll be there for the disinfectants. We’ll be there to do everything we can to make sure from a public health point of view you’re safe.”
Lamont also said state officials continue to work on improving online learning and trying to make sure all students have online access.
Connecticut continues to have some of the best coronavirus data in the country, with fewer than 1% of tests for the virus coming back positive. On Monday, 59 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, 12 fewer than Friday and down from a peak of more than 1,970 in late April.
The state on Monday reported nearly 32,000 new test results since Friday, and 207 came back positive for the virus. Nearly 49,000 people in Connecticut have contracted the virus and more than 4,400 have died. Five more people died from COVID-19 since Friday.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or lead to death.
In other coronavirus developments in Connecticut:
Lamont said Monday that about 5,000 travelers from so-called “hot spot” states have submitted required health forms to the state, since Connecticut imposed new travel rules last week. The state has also received 1,800 inquiries about its travel restrictions.
The state is requiring residents of more than 30 states with high coronavirus numbers to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Connecticut, unless they can prove they've tested negative for the virus within the past 72 hours.
Lamont's chief operating officer, Josh Geballe, said there appears to be a high rate of compliance with the health form requirement, and no problems with the form have been reported by a team of state officials stationed at Bradley International Airport north of Hartford.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles is giving residents an extra 90 days to renew licenses, identification cards, vehicle registrations and other credentials that expire between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30, as part of coronavirus protections.
The DMV announced the deadline extensions Monday and said it will waive any late fees for expired credentials covered by the order.
The 90-day extension also applies to emissions tests, boat registrations, disability placards and business licenses that expire between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30.
The DMV previously extended its renewal dates for 180 days for credentials that expired earlier this year.