BRISTOL – Bristol public schools are moving back toward full in-person learning, with seniors returning to Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern high schools this week, as the covid-19 pandemic eases in Connecticut.
“I am very excited to share that we continue to take steps towards our district-wide goal of returning all of our scholars to their classrooms,” reported Superintendent Catherine Carbone in her weekly community update.
Students in pre-kindergarten through grade 6, plus grade 9, returned to full in-person learning on Jan. 19. Grades 7, 7, 10, and 11 remain in hybrid learning for now, alternating between in person and at home learning.
Carbone said the plan is for the seventh- and eighth-graders to go to full in person learning on March 1, and for the sophomores and juniors to return on March 8.
Some students have remained in at home learning, also known as Cooperative Virtual Learning, due their parents’ or guardians’ preference during the pandemic.
“We will continue to consult with Bristol-Burlington’s Director of Health Marco Palmeri and monitor the public health data for the City of Bristol and Hartford County,” Carbone wrote. “It is important that you and your child are prepared to pivot to a hybrid or a full remote learning schedule at any given date. Over the past year, we have learned that we need to remain flexible and prepared in order to keep the health and safety of our students, teachers, and staff our top priority. Any decision regarding the need to transition to an alternative instruction model will be communicated to families as soon as possible by district and school leadership.”
Gov. Ned Lamont at his covid-19 press briefing this afternoon announced Connecticut’s positivity test rate for covid-19 continues to drop and now stands at 2.58%, which he said is better than much of the rest of the country.
Despite the news that some 500,000 Americans have died from covid-19, Lamont said Connecticut now has good capacity in its hospitals, with some 500 hospitalized – down 35 from last Friday. He added the state has so far vaccinated 70% of those aged 75 and above and 37% of those aged 65 to 74.
Lamont announced state residents ages 55 to 64 will be eligible for vaccines starting March 1, ages 45 to 54 by March 22, ages 35 to 44 by April 12 and general eligibility by May 3.
He also announced there will be a focus on setting up dedicated vaccine clinics for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 staff and child care center staff in March.
“I’m so proud that Connecticut is one of the leaders in our country in having our schools open,” he said. “I think the vast majority of schools are open four days a week and almost every single one is available with at least some in person learning.”
Occasionally there are quarantine issues when educators test positive or are exposed to someone who has, the governor said.
“So we really want to prioritize everybody that works in the schools - that includes the teachers, the paraeducators, those that work in the custodial services, the food service workers, the bus drivers, in class volunteers, in school administrative staff, and when I talk about educators I want to say those that are child care providers as well,” Lamont said. “I think it’s that important we do everything we can to say ‘thank you’ to that community that’s been on the front lines taking care of our kids and making sure our kids are educated and making sure we can keep our schools open as broadly as we can.”
However, Lamont noted that priority will not extend to anyone in the education field who does not need to be present in a school building, such as employees who can telecommute and school board members.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.