Coronavirus News: Phased reopening recommended for Connecticut colleges, universities

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced on Wednesday that he has received recommendations for a phased reopening of colleges and universities in the state.

The detailed report provided to the governor outlined recommendations that include the gradual reopening of higher education campuses over the course of the summer at the discretion of each institution.

According to the governor, if prevailing health conditions permit, schools may reopen by the fall semester, although colleges and universities will be free to decide whether or not they need more time for certain programs to restart.

"Given the heterogeneity of our colleges and universities, one size won't fit all, which is why we need carefully tailored guidelines for differing parts of this sector," Governor Lamont said. "This framework to reopen our higher education institutions is a vital component of our overall plan to reopen Connecticut."

The recommended sequencing of the reopening of colleges and universities would begin with the reopening of research and administrative departments, along the same timeline as general business operations in the state, currently set for May 20.

This would be followed by the reopening of workforce programs in the early summer. Colleges would also welcome back students who were unable to complete courses from the spring semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If health conditions continue to improve, undergraduate institutions may reopen for the fall semester if they choose.

The phased reopening will also be dependent on the prevalence of the disease, student access to COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

Approximately 190,000 students are enrolled in higher education institutions in the state, and they employ about 45,000 of residents.

Most colleges and universities in Connecticut have not shut down their teaching during the spring semester, but have employed remote learning methods to continue educating students.

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