New Haven clergy members voice concerns about possibility of schools reopening amid COVID-19 pandemic

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– On Wednesday, New Haven clergy met with community leaders to talk about bringing kids back to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rev. Boise Kimber told News 8 he wants to see a concrete plan on how schools will open safely. 

Rev. Kimber, with First Calvary Baptist Church said, “You can’t get 20 kids in a room and practice safe distancing. Are kids going to be wearing masks all day? What are they going to be doing? Who is going to be cleaning?”

“We’ve been talking about making sure we have enough PPE, have enough testing apparatuses and also make sure that there is infrastructure in the schools that we are keeping our kids safe,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.

Mayor Elicker says the city does have a plan. The first plan if our cases continue to stay low is that families will be given the option to come back to school five days a week, they can choose to opt out and do online learning at home.

The second plan is that if COVID cases are kind of medium level kids will come back to school two days a week.

Mayor Elicker told News 8, “If the cases are high, schools will have to go back to online learning. Rev. Steven Cousin wants to work with the New Haven school system to come up with a plan for distance learning.” 

“We are exploring an idea to allow our churches to be places for children who do not have internet access. They would be able to come inside the churches to do their work,” said Rev. Steven Cousin, with Bethel AME Church.

The city handed out thousands of Chromebooks to students. Mayor Elicker said the city is working to give out more. 

“There’s been free WiFi that’s offered through Comcast. We need to work to ensure that option exists for a much longer term,” he said. 

Rev. Cousin added,  “If there is going to be a plan in place we would like to ensure that every child has the resources to do their work and no child should fall behind during this time.”

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