NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday he has no plans yet to implement a statewide mask mandate, but will keep in place the current requirement that face coverings be worn inside schools.
Lamont said keeping children and teachers safe remains a top priority with the school year set to begin in two weeks.READ MORE: Vaccine Mandate For NYC Teachers, Department Of Education Workers Put On Hold By Federal Judge
“I see some of the problems they are having in the southern states, where the kids are not wearing masks, where they’re forced to quarantine, where teachers are getting ill and we’re not going to let that happen, not in Connecticut,” Lamont said during an unrelated news conference in New Haven.
He later clarified that there will be a statewide mandate for all classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade and it would stay in place for at least the first month of the school year.
“I hope it’s not something we’ve got to do for more than a month or two, but time will tell,” he said. “COVID has its own timetable.”
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Lamont’s executive order requiring masks in schools is set to expire with the rest of his special executive powers Sept. 30.
But Martin Looney, the Democratic president pro tempore of the state Senate from New Haven, said lawmakers will meet next month to decide whether to extend those executive powers further, a move he said he would support.
“It could go, potentially, through the beginning of the session in February,” Looney said. “But I think that decision will be made on the state of the pandemic at the time we come in.”
Lamont said he’s also planning to meet with union leaders who represent nursing home workers to discuss whether to extend the deadline for getting those workers vaccinated.
An executive order prevents nursing homes from employing anyone who has not received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 7. Nursing home owners found in violation of the order face fines of $20,000 a day.
Lamont said he prefers using incentives to mandates when it comes to convincing people to get vaccinated, but believes the effectiveness of concert ticket or cash giveaways may be waning.READ MORE: Gov. Kathy Hochul Increases Pressure On COVID Vaccine Holdouts As Deadline For Health Care Workers Approaches
“To get that next 10% vaccinated, I’m not sure incentives will be enough,” he said.
The governor’s office released figures Tuesday showing another 36 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since Monday, bringing the total to 321. Lamont said the testing positivity rate also continues to climb.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Connecticut has risen from 422 on Aug. 1 to just over 579 on Aug. 15, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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Quinnipiac University has sent an email to students who have failed to comply with its vaccination policy, advising them they will face a graduated fees that begin at $100 a week until they either get their shots or apply for an exemption.
Those who do not will be charged $100 a week during the first two weeks of the semester. That fee will rise by $25 every two weeks until it reaches $200 a week, the school said. A student who fails to comply through the entire semester would end up paying $2,275.
Students also will lose access to Wi-Fi and the campus intranet network if they fail to complete the vaccination mandate by Sept. 14, the school said.
The university will stop billing students once they submit proof of their first vaccination shot. If students become fully vaccinated by Sept. 14, the fees will be waived, the school said.
Quinnipiac spokesman John Morgan said about 600 students have so far failed to upload their vaccination information. The school has a total enrollment of just over 10,000 students.
Classes begin on Aug. 30.MORE NEWS: De Blasio Says City Prepared For School Staffing Shortages As COVID Vaccine Deadline Approaches
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