HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order Tuesday evening to extend the date all public schools in the state will be closed to at least April 20.
He said schools could be closed for the remained of the school year but said it was too soon to make that call, especially with new COVID-19 cases more than doubling overnight.
At schools across the state, teachers and students are settling into their new, temporary way of learning.
“The teachers across the state, district after district are already improvising, thinking about how they can keep our students engaged, and they are doing that on their own with teleconferencing and Zoom and other types of technology,” Lamont said during a news conference.
The state received a donation of 60,000 laptops from Partnership for Connecticut, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Connecticut’s disengaged and disconnected youth and young adults access education and career opportunities.
Officials are starting to hand them out over the next couple of days and weeks, getting everybody one who needs one so they can dial in and watch their teacher and continue to learn.
Indra and Raj Nooyi have said they plan to donate high-quality, take-home books from Scholastic that will provide reading and writing instruction to more than 185,000 pre-K to eighth-grade students while learning from home.
Students in pre-K through the third grade will receive four books per student plus a family resource guide. Students from fourth through eighth grades will receive three books per student and a family resource guide.
The books are aligned with Connecticut state learning standards, and parents are encouraged to work with students at home to complete these exercises. Students will be able to keep the books indefinitely.
News 8 reached out to the superintendent of Middletown Public Schools, Dr. Michael Conner, and he said they’re already gearing up and getting students moving in the right direction.
He said it will be difficult and there will be challenges, but he doesn’t believe any students are going to be left behind or left behind next year; he believes everyone will move onto the next grade.
“I mean, in these conditions, I don’t see how we can [leave anyone behind],” he said. “These are new conditions for everybody.”
Wednesday, News 8’s Suzie Hunter was there when parents and students lined up at Hartford Public Schools across the city to collect chromebooks before making the final shift to all online learning amid the coronavirus outbreak.
HPS is making sure their students are loaded with the right equipment during this challenging new time of learning entirely from home.
Parents and students lined up at 16 schools around Hartford this week before their new online classroom opens Monday.
One mother, Yvonne Nketih, told News 8 her son has been working on a small tablet to do his school work since the governor closed schools a couple weeks ago. She says the new chromebook will be big help.
Nketih said she’s worried about single mothers like herself, that the longer this goes on, the harder it will be to pay the bills.
So Hartford Public Schools isn’t just supplying the tech, they’re supplying the fuel. Throughout the closure, kids can pick up enough meals for the week at 16 locations throughout Hartford on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Hartford Public Schools is distributing chromebooks to students through Friday.