HARTFORD – On Thursday afternoon, Governor Ned Lamont announced an overview of a draft plan to provide guidance for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Following the announcement, State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) offered the following statement:
I cannot imagine anything further from a ‘summer break’ for school administrators as they evaluate and plan for the arduous and costly road of readying for the upcoming school year. The state needs to do everything in its power to support our schools and our municipalities so they can be safely open as soon as possible. We also must make sure our schools have all the support: financially and logistically including any physical construction costs reimbursements that they will need.
Clear and consistent communication will be key to a successful start of the school year: from the Commissioner to the districts, from the districts to families, and back up the line. Each school in each district will have its own challenges, and communication will be the best support for protecting students, teachers and staff health, ensuring safety and providing peace of mind for families sending their children back to school.
The expectations, guidelines and mandates set by the State Department of Education must be workable – both logistically and financially. There are a number of major factors to consider in regards to reopening Connecticut schools this fall and local input is essential for the final plan to work effectively.
I am encouraged to learn that districts are being asked to draft plans for partial reopening in addition to preparing for full attendance this fall. Preparation will be key should schools need to utilize virtual learning in the coming year. Educating students remotely over the past three months presented parents, caregivers and teachers with a whole new set of challenges which need to be considered.
I want to thank Governor Lamont and State Department of Education Commissioner Cardona for drafting this plan and starting the critical and necessary conversation toward school re-opening. I am anxious to work with Superintendents, Boards of Education and Town leadership to determine if and how they can implement these requirements to the unique needs of each town within the 28th Senate district.
The health and safety of our students, teachers and staff are our paramount priority and focus, and today’s guidance gives some direction to what changes must be made to accomplish those important goals. I eagerly await the ‘comprehensive draft’ plan detail expected on Monday, June 29th. I see today’s draft plan presentation as the beginning of the conversation, not the final product.
Today’s press conference addressed the concepts to implement a reopening plan for K-12 public schools, and another important topic of discussion for me is reopening Connecticut’s colleges and universities. As the ranking minority leader of the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Committee, I am looking forward to being involved in these critical conversations.
The Higher Education and Employment Committee will be holding a virtual public hearing via Zoom on Tuesday, July 14 at 12:00pm to discuss strategies for reopening Connecticut’s Colleges and Universities. The link to the meeting will be posted to www.senatorhwang.com as soon as it is available.
State Senator Tony Hwang represents the 28th Senate District in the Connecticut General Assembly. Hwang is Deputy Minority Senate Leader and the ranking legislative leader on the Public Safety and Security Committee and Higher Education & Employment Committees and also serves as a member of the Transportation Committee.