HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– School systems are scrambling as coronavirus cases soar across the world and here in the U.S. So how is Connecticut preparing in case of an outbreak here? Education officials say they’re moving forward with one key priority: student safety
“A decision about school closures for an extended period of time is not something we can do in a silo,” said Connecticut State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona.
Health officials deemed the fast-moving deadly Covid-19 as a fluid situation changing minute to minute, prompting Connecticut’s education department to draft guidance for some 206 school districts across the state.
“We have a unified command center,” said Cardona.
Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona’s team has been assembling real-time updates.
“There are calls every other day with commissioners with updates with the Department of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Services,” said Cardona.
School officials are fielding a host of questions from concerned parents: who should self-quarantine and which disinfectants should schools use?
Janet Waugh of Ansonia says she’s concerned by all the bacteria kids are exposed to on a daily basis: “public restrooms, public doorknobs, sharing of the desks, the computers, the cell phones, it’s very concerning.”
The answers are coming straight from the Centers for Disease Control and changing rapidly to date. People who recently returned from countries designated as level 3, (China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea), are ordered to self-monitor in their homes for two weeks.
“If we have someone that enters the school from one of the countries and starts to show signs of a virus or flu-like symptoms, the school will definitely be closed,” said Cardona.
Local health departments will work with schools to assess case-by-case situations.
“As a parent of two students I’ve heard updates from their schools on things that we can do to make sure that their kids are washing their hands and that if they’re feeling sick they communicate it,” said Cardona.
On Thursday, the State Department of Education is slated to send guidance to local districts.
Something to keep in mind, the vast majority of coronavirus cases have happened in adults.
Doctors say the virus doesn’t seem to affect children as much.