Draft Guidelines for Summer Schools Across Connecticut Prioritize Local Flexibility

On July 6, school districts across Connecticut will be allowed to begin in-person summer school, according to draft guidelines released by the Connecticut Department of Education. But in contrast to nearly every other school closure decision made during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state will allow local and regional school districts the final say on whether to reopen for summer instruction. “July 6 is the first day we could be in-person. We’ve been discussing it since it was released last week and trying to determine what is feasible and what we can do by that date,” said Jan Perruccio, the superintendent

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Interest in Homeschooling Surges as COVID Restrictions Reshape Public and Private Education for the Fall

On May 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance to school districts about precautions that should be taken if they are to reopen in the fall. The recommendations include students and teachers wearing masks, not sharing supplies, keeping desks six feet apart, social distancing on school buses, requiring one-directional hallways, restricting visitors from the school, staggering arrival and departure times and routine cleaning of surfaces and supplies throughout the day.

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Colleges and Universities Across Connecticut Plan for the Fall Semester

On June 30, the University of Connecticut will make a decision about whether the fall semester will be held on campus or online. “Our goal is to fully resume operations in the fall, and we are planning for this. However, if public health circumstances do not allow for this or if the state or the university are unable to meet the criteria for reopening spelled out in [the May 6] report, a more limited or scaled-back opening would be pursued,” explained UConn President Thomas Katsouleas in a letter to the UConn community on May 7. UConn, like other colleges and

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Board of Education Addresses Audit, Steps Forward, for Essex, Chester, Deep River Schools

ESSEX, CHESTER, DEEP RIVER — Almost three years after Regional School District 4 made an unfunded purchase of property for $350,000, and almost a year after the board first became aware of the deficit, the state has requested a corrective action plan from the district. That purchase was made under the guidance of former superintendent Ruth Levy and former business manager Kimberly Allen. It all comes down to zeroes and ones and a lack of accounting expertise in the district’s business office that resulted in deficits in the capital sinking fund, cafeteria fund and health insurance fund — according to

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Clarify Reports of Cost Savings

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This Wednesday, Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education will vote on the first budget decrease in the district’s history. The $34.9 million proposed budget is 1.06 percent less than last year’s regional district budget. The current proposal is $180,000 less than the budget originally proposed in February. “The goal was to have a zero percent increase in payments for both towns,” said Ian Neviaser, superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. “Originally, even though Lyme was seeing a reduction in cost, Old Lyme was looking at a $180,000 increase.” The nearly $200,000 in total savings from the 2019-2020 budget come from a refinancing

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U.S. News Ranks Groton Magnet 10th in State, Lyme-Old Lyme 17th, Old Saybrook 22nd

Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton ranks 10th in the state and 532nd nationally of public high schools according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 rankings. “LEARN’s Marine Science Magnet High School is a special community of intensely committed educators, students, and families,” said LEARN Associate Executive Director Dr. Ryan Donlon. “It is an honor to have the hard work and partnership of these three groups be recognized by U.S. News & World Report.” In Connecticut, 207 high schools were analyzed for the report and nationally 17,792 schools were included. The report highlighted Marine Science Magnet’s 100%

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Bipartisan Efforts in the Senate Address Shortfalls in Special Education in Wake of Coronavirus

As school districts await further guidance on special education during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are pushing for the United States Department of Education to hold school districts accountable for providing a free appropriate public education as much as possible. “Our education system is grappling with the transition to distance learning due to COVID-19, but now is not the time to backtrack on our commitment to provide a quality education to all students with disabilities. Instead, this is a moment where Congress needs to provide additional guidance and resources to schools to make

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As Connecticut Schools Adapt to the Coronavirus, Stark Gaps in Educational Opportunities Raise Questions About the Future of Distance Learning

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On March 16, every school across Connecticut was closed, and for the first-time remote learning was the only option for primary and high school students. Within days, the inequity of the learning opportunities offered was abundantly evident as some students with computers and internet available at home were able to continue their studies, while others lacked access to the technology and internet connection. “Today students in some places are getting distance education, but others are not. If this were to carry on for any length of time you’d have a case under the relevant statute law,” said Richard Kay, a

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With Draft Guidance from CABE, Schools Adopt Emergency Procedures for Pandemic.

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In an effort to provide superintendents with the ability to make decisions quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education drafted an emergencies and disaster preparedness policy that school boards across that state are adopting. “Two issues prompted me to draft this,” said Vincent Mustaro, the senior staff associate for policy services at CABE and the former superintendent of Clinton Public Schools. “The current situation requires having to make decisions quickly or change a decision quickly based upon guidance from the federal government or the state. Also, succession planning. What if the superintendent becomes disabled and

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Risk, Insurance, and Reopening Schools After the Pandemic

With every new disaster, comes new risks. With every new risk, comes a potential market for insurance. “We are not going to see immediate changes to plans or products that would cover the pandemic, but over time as we learn from this, we will begin to see some products that will be offered related to pandemics,” said Sean Kevelighan, the CEO of the Insurance Information Institute. At present, schools are not covered for financial losses caused by the pandemic or by health impacts if an outbreak were to occur at their facilities. Schools with self-funded health insurance plans do, however,

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