HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A clearer picture is coming into focus for what a return to school in the tri-state area will look like.

Connecticut announced plans Thursday, and New Jersey is expected to announce plans Friday.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday announced Connecticut will implement a plan to reopen schools on a statewide basis in the fall.

“We can open the schools and open them in a way that keeps you safe and your kids safe,” Lamont said.

The state is telling school districts to plan for all students to return to in-school classes daily, with numerous health and safety protocols in place. The governor did not announce a starting date, but said the plan will have provisions for students and teachers who have higher health risks.

MORE: Read the framework of Connecticut’s plan to reopen schools in the fall

State Department Of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said desks should be moved as far away from each other as possible to maximize social distancing.


Other protocols include:

  • Hand sanitizer must be readily available and students should wash their hands frequently.
  • Face masks will be required for students and staff on buses and during the school day. Masks must completely cover the nose and mouth.
  • Schools will routinely undergo enhanced cleaning and disinfecting.

Cardona said the state is emphasizing “cohorting,” meaning students should remain within the same group at all times.

He also acknowledged getting young kids to keep their faces covered will be tough.

“We have to work to give them the strategies to do it and work with them. Kids are resilient. Kids will pick up on things,” Cardona said.

Connecticut is also making alternate plans to improve remote learning in case of a second wave.

“Part of our plan in Connecticut is also to know when to ramp down, which means that we’re going to reduce the number of students in the classrooms, as needed, and, ultimately, if the data suggests, go back to a full distance learning…” Cardona said.

The state will release the full plan on June 29.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meanwhile, mother Illana Lebersfeld is wondering if masks will be mandatory for schools in New Jersey.

“Wearing masks is I guess the safest, but it is a little scary having a child in a mask all day,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.

Lebersfeld’s three kids, including 16-year-old Gracie, go to Millburn Public Schools.

“I’m definitely ready to go back to in-person learning,” Gracie said.

The family is curious what kind of guidelines Gov. Phil Murphy will announce Friday, but mom has some ideas.

“Really good cleaning, temperature checks, just good screening all around,” she said.

“There is no one-size-fits-all guidance,” the governor said.

RELATED STORY: NYC Dept. Of Education Invites Students, Parents And Guardians To Complete Survey On Return To School

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said classes will start again around Sept. 10.

Schools chancellor Richard Carranza told 1010 WINS that’s still the goal.

“We’ve been planning for that since the minute we closed in-person instruction, and we’re pushing hard for it,” he said.

Leaders of every state have said if coronavirus numbers change for the worse by the fall, they will not puts students and staff in jeopardy, and they’d have to reevaluate their plans.


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