Open New Haven Public Schools this Fall
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On Wednesday, August 5th, the New Haven Board of Education voted to keep schools closed in the fall and continue with an online-only model, for at least the first two and a half months of the school year.
We urge the Governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, to reject this plan and compel New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) to open five days a week, for all children who wish to learn in person, starting September 3rd. NHPS should also offer a remote option for those families that do not wish for their children to return to school now.
The Governor in late June announced his plan "to allow all students – in all school districts statewide – the opportunity to have access to in-school, full-time instruction at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year, as long as public health data continues to support this model."
Thankfully, the public health data does continue to support this in-person reopening model, and the Governor should keep his promise to the children of Connecticut and of New Haven by requiring New Haven Public Schools to open school five days a week.
The reasons to support re-opening in person include the following:
- Connecticut is among the leading states in the country in keeping Covid-19 down, with high rates of testing and low rates of new cases, hospitalizations and positive tests. The share of tests that is positive is now consistently below 1%.
- The state's own data show case numbers and hospitalizations that have continued to fall from the already low levels of late June, when the Governor and the Education Commissioner advocated for in-person reopening.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on August 3rd that Connecticut is "in a good place."
- “Connecticut is in a good place,” Fauci said. “You are in a situation that you now, in many respects, have the upper hand, because you have such a low rate that when you do get new cases, you have the capability of containment as opposed to mitigation.”
- “The default position should be to try as best as you possibly can to open up the schools for in-person learning,” Fauci said.
- See: https://www.courant.com/coronavirus/hc-news-coronavirus-daily-updates-0803-20200803-nrv2d34w2je43kfs4tjhhdvzla-story.html
- Children, especially young children, are at very low risk from Covid-19 and show rates of infection, symptoms and transmission far lower than adults. A growing body of studies from around the world, from China to Australia to Switzerland, finds very low rates of transmission from children to adults and argues that children are not a main source of community transmission. This finding is so strong and uniform that a recent article in the journal Pediatrics is titled "COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame"
- "Online" or "virtual" learning is a poor substitute for in-person education for children, especially young children who need interaction. Children that are resigned to sit in front of a screen or work through worksheets on their own are not learning or socializing in a meaningful way, and will fall further behind in their educational and social progress if schools do not reopen in person.
- Children from single-parent households or with two working parents are particularly disadvantaged by a move away from in-person learning. Education early in childhood matters for success throughout one's life for both your further education and your career. The full extent of the disadvantages caused by virtual learning will not be evident for years to come.
- In a poll of New Haven Public School parents conducted in June, for the parents of one elementary school, fully 80% supported an in-person, full-time reopening with offline support for those who chose not to attend in person.
Governor Lamont, Commissioner Cardona -- keep your promise and open our schools.
Parents, please sign our petition if you believe New Haven Public Schools should offer the option of full-time, in-person learning for your child this fall, starting on September 3rd, in addition to the option of remote learning, for those families that do not wish to return in person.
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