76% of students expect to return to the classroom this fall, state survey finds


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — The 2020-2021 academic school year is quickly approaching. As back to school draws closer, state officials continue to work hard to figure out the safest and best practices when reopening classrooms.

According to a state-issued survey given to parents and students by school districts, 76% of students expect to attend in-person even though remote learning is optional.

“I would like to get back in the classroom,” said Joshua Ofori-Attah, a student at West Haven High School. “I’m a hands-on learner. I like to see what I can do and work at it.”

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Alex Kendall, another West Haven High School student, said while remote learning is possible, learning in the classroom is preferred.

“Teachers are doing what they can with the Zoom, but the interaction I think is what makes the classroom so special,” Kendall said.

While a majority of students wish to return to the classroom, 54% also expect to ride the bus.

It’s not just the students who want to return to the classroom; 81% of teachers surveyed said they expect to teach in-person. 

Governor Ned Lamont has been targeting early August for a final decision on reopening schools. However, each district will control when it actually opens the doors.

State educators are working to determine the best practices for students and teachers like keeping desks separated, allowing masks breaks and where students will eat lunch. 

On Monday, he said he was getting good feedback from teachers and superintendents but said there is a bit of a misconception that districts have to choose from options dictated by the state.

“Every town, every city’s got very different metrics,” Lamont said during a daily briefing. “As Miguel [Cardona, the state’s Commissioner of Education] has said, I think in the majority of the cases, the vast majority will be able to have in-class, especially for the lower grades. Some situations will be unique. We gotta give them that flexibility.”

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“Districts are going to have the opportunity to ultimately decide what plan works for them,” Cardona added. “We believe, right now, with the data where we are, elementary schools can go in, and middle and high schools should also be able to let the majority of students in.”

Cardona said high schools might have more flexibility to start off as a hybrid model.

Last Tuesday, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) released its safe learning plan for returning to school this academic year.

The CEA also wants the state to recognize and address all risks to students and staff and understand that moving the economy forward depends on safety of schools not just reopening of them. 

It wants distance or remote learning and staggered schedules for any in-class learning.

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