Central Connecticut State University students returned to learning Wednesday, with a list of pandemic requirements that include wearing masks in the classroom and taking multiple coronavirus tests this semester.
Gov. Ned Lamont joined Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, on campus to kick off what they both said will be a different year of learning and having to adapt. Lamont stressed that if the public health metrics change, the system will adjust to remote learning.
“Sorry, guys, nothing is 100 percent safe,” said Lamont. “If we waited until things were 100 percent safe, we would never get back to school. But we are making it as safe as humanly possible.”
Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford said most of the coronavirus spread they have seen on campuses is related to small gatherings of college students. At UConn, a small cluster of positive tests was traced back to the athletic department.
“Of course we have seen cases at colleges around the country,” said Gifford. “The Department of Public Health is following those situations closely and communicating with our colleges in Connecticut, and we will make changes to our recommendations and follow the science if needed.”
Ojakian said he remains optimistic that students are serious about wanting to stay on campus and will adhere to the strict social distancing guidelines this semester.
“I believe very strongly that the students from Connecticut and the ones that come into Connecticut will rise to the occasion and prove all those naysayers wrong,” said Ojakian, “that they will wear masks, that they will physically distance where they need to physically distance.”
In-person learning has already been delayed at Western Connecticut State University after a spike in coronavirus cases in Danbury. All classes there will be held online.