Shortened Semesters on Campus and Full Fees for Room and Board as Connecticut’s Colleges and Universities Face a Steep Fiscal Challenge

Students will be returning to campus in the fall at Connecticut’s four state universities, but in place of the usual crowds on move-in day, the packed classrooms and extracurriculars, students can expect instead a more gradula move-in, limited group activities, a mix of online and classroom learning and regular COVID-19 testing. The biggest change, according to Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, is that students will not be returning to campus after Thanksgiving and instead will finish the semester online to prevent a possible outbreak of virus from students returning from the break. That means

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Connecticut Providers and Insurers Debate the Future of Remote Medicine

Gov. Ned Lamont’s decision in March to mandate social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 forced medical providers to quickly expand telehealth coverage for appointments by video or phone. This expanded coverage is regulated by a temporary patchwork of major policy changes, including state and federal emergency mandates and voluntary measures by private insurers. On March 19, Lamont issued an executive order allowing providers for the first time to offer medical visits by telephone. And Medicaid and private insurers have moved to reimburse providers for virtual visits at the same rate as in-person visits.  At an Insurance and Real

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Connecticut Department of Public Health Rolls Back Mandate for Testing Nursing Home Staff

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is rolling back a June 1 executive order by Gov. Ned Lamont which mandated weekly testing of nursing home staff for COVID-19 for the duration of the public health emergency. The state agency has informed care facilities that they may forgo testing after two consecutive weeks without positive tests for nursing home staff and residents. “After two weeks of zero positives a facility can discontinue testing,” said Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of public health and commissioner of social services at an Appropriations Committee meeting on Friday. According to Gifford, the guidance comes from the

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State Announces Full Reopening of Primary and Secondary Schools in Connecticut for the Fall

Required face masks for all pre-kindergarten through high school students, as much social distancing as is feasible and back up plans upon back up plans in preparation for a possible second wave of COVID-19 are hallmarks of the state’s plan announced today by the Connecticut Department of Education for reopening schools at the end of August. “This past school year was marked by disruption, next year’s school year will be marked by innovation and commitment,” said Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona. “It will be the most important school year for students and educators yet.” Although many educators and parents expected

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As State Officials Commission Study of Nursing Homes, COVID-19 Infections Slow

In the last week, just 61 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Connecticut, evidencing a drop in the spread of the virus among the state’s hardest-hit population. Of those 61 cases, one was diagnosed at Aaron Manor Nursing and Rehab Center in Chester, where there have been 31 cases, six were at Essex Meadows Health Center, where there are now 16 cases and two were at Apple Rehab in Old Saybrook, where there are now 69 cases. Between mid-March and mid-June, at least 9,720 residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities

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Getting There: How Safe is the Train?

As New York City businesses reopens it’s expected that one million people will get back to work, some of them from Connecticut.  But how they get to those jobs is the big question. While I’ve written for weeks that I expect many Nutmeggers will opt first for their personal automobiles, the resulting traffic mess will soon have them reconsidering a return to Metro-North and the city’s subways. The big issue, of course, is keeping everyone safe by maintaining social distancing and requiring face masks for all riders. MORE TRAINS & SUBWAYS Metro-North has already expanded rush hour service by 26%

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As Local Officials Await State Guidance, Legislators Voice Concerns About Fall Schooling

According to the Connecticut Department of Education, the 33 lowest performing school districts – known as Alliance Districts – also have had the least student engagement since schools across Connecticut were forced to close in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Complicating their mission, Alliance Districts also serve a disproportionate share of Connecticut’s “English Learners.” Every school in Connecticut, public and private, has its own COVID-10 story, some adapting to remote education with relative ease and others with more than 10 percent of students failing to participate at all in distance learning programs. As districts plan reopening for summer

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COVID in Connecticut – By the Numbers

Yesterday, phase two of reopening the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic began with Gov. Ned Lamont allowing hotels, indoor dining, nail salons, fitness facilities, amusement parks, museums, zoos and aquariums to open for business. Lamont attributed the slightly accelerated pace of successive phases to the continued decline of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state despite increased socialization and travel since May 20. “We hit our peak on April 22 and are down about 90 percent since then,” said Lamont at a Tuesday press conference. “The positivity rate has stayed at or below 2 percent despite our increased testing with

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