Reopen Connecticut: Students head back for first day of school amid COVID pandemic

BySonia Rincon, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, August 31, 2020
CT students head back for first day of school amid COVID pandemic
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Sonia Rincon has the latest on students in Connecticut heading back to school amid COVID pandemic.

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- The first day of school started for many in the Tri-State area.

In Connecticut, students were back in the classrooms for in-person learning for the first time since March.

Elementary school students hopped off the school bus in fewer numbers with each school in New Canaan at half capacity on any given day. Students were divided into two cohorts.

"Two days and then three days from home remote learning," parent Lena Booth said. "I think it's great. I definitely think that's how we should start."

Booth is dropping six-year old Lucy off for her first day of first grade.

Superintendent Bryan Luizzi says they feel very comfortable with their plan, which like many school districts is allowing any students to learn remotely full-time if they want to, and to isolate any students and their classes if anyone should get sick.

"The plan itself is flexible enough to adapt, so if a group of students or an entire class is out for a period of time, instruction will continue," Luizzi said. "And as 50% of the students are in the school , the other 50% will be participating in live streamed instruction. So if a student doesn't feel well, they can stay home that day and still log into the class and not fall behind."

Most of the students seemed thrilled to just have a little sense of normalcy.

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"I'm excited and a little nervous," sixth grader Sydney Posner said. "But we all missed our friends, so it's going to be good to reunite."

And parents say that's good for them.

"I think it's important for them to get back in there and socialize," said Gersende and Eduardo Ferrer.

These parents of fifth grade twins took a coffee break after dropping them off. 93% of parents in the district are putting their trust in the hybrid plan, while the other 7 percent are starting the year off remote-only.

While the infection rate in New Canaan is very low -- as it is in most of lower Fairfield County -- in Upper Fairfield county, Danbury has been containing an outbreak and is starting the year remote-only.

Luizzi says he's actually very impressed with how Danbury is managing that situation with contact tracing, and says since COVID may be around for a while, it's something everyone can learn from.

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