CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- As students in Connecticut return to school, Governor Ned Lamont said Tuesday he wants to keep them there and avoid remote learning -- even amid a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant.
"I'm going to do everything I can to keep kids in the classroom safely," Lamont said. "There's nothing that compares to a great teacher in a classroom."
The plan for Connecticut schools is similar to what New York City public schools are doing: vaccinated students who have an exposure and are asymptomatic can stay in school but need to test, while those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and are asymptomatic must quarantine at home for five days and test after five days.
"With these simple principles of following the guidance of symptoms, we believe we can keep as many kids in school as possible while still maintaining a safe environment for schools to stay open," Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani said.
The new policies allow for vaccinated students to remain in school if there's an exposure, and that could encourage more parents to get their kids vaccinated.
As for tests, rapid at-home kits are being distributed throughout the state's school districts.
"We've got over half-million additional at-home tests that have been distributed over the weekend to our municipalities and are getting out to people's hands," state Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said. "We've got another 620,000 at-home tests that have gone out today directly to schools and school districts for students and school staff."
However, some districts are facing a shortage of bus drivers, and that's being addressed in some cases with delayed start times or a delay in returning to school.
The governor announced Monday that the state's positivity was a staggering 21.5%.
Meantime, many colleges and universities in Connecticut, including Yale and UConn, have announced they will start their spring semesters online.
UConn and other schools, including Connecticut College, have also told students they will be required to have booster shots once they are eligible for them.
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