CDC sends conflicting messages about in-person learning, state to keep eyes on the COVID-19 data

Coronavirus

BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — How safe are your kids in school during this pandemic? There are conflicting reports from the CDC, where the director says “schools are among the safest places kids can be,” but the agency website says something different.

State Education Commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona tells News 8 he is looking into the conflicting CDC messages. He also is consulting the state’s epidemiologist.

Dr. Miguel Cardona, “What we do know is in Connecticut. we are not seeing mass transmission in schools. We’re also going to keep our eyes on the data because that could change and if it does then adjust accordingly.”

With a statewide virus positivity rate of more than 6 percent, the governor is cautiously optimistic The governor said he is doing everything to keep the schools open snd that now includes helping with staff shortages.

William Tucker is helping teach kindergarten in Bristol. He is part of the state’s new NexGen Teacher program with Central Connecticut State University.

A pipeline for college students studying to be teachers. They are also helping fill the gap due to COVID.

William Tucker, “All of the students are great. The teacher I’ve already learned so much in two days of being there that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.”

Bristol is piloting the program – 18 students help teach three days a week. They are paired with a veteran mentor. They do not earn credit but are paid $90 a day. The state pays for the background checks.

Governor Ned Lamont, “If we can start rolling out these apprentice teachers into the classroom soon, what a difference that makes in terms of our opportunity to keep classrooms open.”

The question is, for how long? New numbers from the State show COVID cases in students jumped 70 percent from last week and staff cases jumped 49 percent.

State officials say figures include those learning entirely online and have never set foot in a school.

Meantime, this NexGen teacher will be back next week assisting as the district moves to distance learning.

William Tucker, “The students in the co-hort I’m coming from are some of the brightest minds I know and we’re all really excited.”

The NexGen Teachers are not substitute teachers. Other towns ready to pilot this program are Windsor, Cromwell and Newington.

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