(WTNH) — The state has announced a new response team that will help with COVID infections at schools across the state.
Within the last few weeks, a handful of teachers from around the state have tested positive for COVID-19. In some cases, there were presumed positive.
School systems in Waterbury, Glastonbury, Norwalk, Cheshire, and East Hartford have all had teachers and administrators experiencing COVID-related health issues. Those teachers will start the school year in quarantine.
The results caused Governor Ned Lamont to take action. On Thursday, he said teachers will have access to federal testing as well as a rapid mobile response team right to the school.
“They are going to be able to get to the school really fast in case of a potential infection if the school is not quite sure how to handle that, be it a school, be it a college, be it a child care facility,” the governor said.
Lamont said the team will be launched out of the health department.
Schools and towns can call for help and health officials will come to the classroom and do testing. They can also do deep cleaning, help figure out exactly how bad the spread is and how to stop it.
“They will initially decide what’s the best course of action because every circumstance is going to be unique in terms of the number of people involved, the contract tracing, etcetera,” said Josh Geballe, COO of the Lamont administration. “So, if they need help they will call the state DPH.”
Parents told News 8 that they’re split about students and teachers going back to school.
“You want your teachers to be safe, be comfortable, right,” said Glastonbury resident, Tim Pratt. “It’s easy for you to just think that they just work for you and they have to be there. But, if you are going to keep people home, there needs to be some understanding with what’s going on with those parents, right? Parents have to go to work and they have to do things. It is not a one size fits all answer.”
“I think we should have gone back five days already because the state is doing pretty well, knock on wood, and I want to see all of my friends and have a normal junior year,” said Giuliana Discenza.
“If they test positive, they should just be online and we can do our Zoom meets from the classroom, and we can still continue on how we were doing before,” said freshman Gianni Discenza.
The other worry for schools is that kids and grownups will go to parties and barbecues during this big holiday weekend and not wear masks and keep socially distant. That means when everybody comes back to school on Tuesday, there could be newly infected people spreading the disease.
Lamont also brought in UConn’s basketball coaches Geno Auriemma and Dan Hurley during his briefing. They talked about being safe over the Labor Day weekend: