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Sheree Baldwin Muhammad, teacher at New Beginnings Family Academy

Starting this week, teachers and child care providers are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

This hour, we talk with three Connecticut teachers and hear about what this past year has looked like for them and their students. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

An overwhelming number of people signed up to testify Tuesday during what was expected to be a contentious public hearing on school vaccination requirements -- so many that lawmakers, by a majority vote, decided to cap the duration of the virtual hearing at 24 hours.

The limit was criticized by several Republican members of the state Public Health Committee, as well as those who testified throughout the day. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As Gov. Ned Lamont rolls out his budget proposals for the coming biennium, education funding seems poised to become a battleground. Lamont wants to freeze the state’s contribution to public schools, the pot of money called Education Cost Sharing, or ECS. Instead, he would boost districts by using federal coronavirus funds. And that’s raising alarm among educators and advocates.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Several public health proposals are making a comeback to the legislative arena this year, including a couple that have sparked significant controversy in past sessions.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut short the 2020 legislative session. Lawmakers managed only a few weeks of committee meetings and a handful of public hearings before the Capitol was shut down in late March.

New Haven School Buses Roll Past Protesters

Jan 19, 2021
Protest scene as some in-person schooling resumed in New Haven.
Leigh Busby / @busbyleigh Instagram

School buses headed out of the First Student company campus before dawn Tuesday morning to cries of “What disinfectant do you use?” and “We are here for you.”

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Connecticut student-athletes have gotten the OK to play again.

A board of control for the governing body of state public high school sports, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, approved a return to play that’ll allow students to practice January 19 with games beginning February 8.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The youth sports shutdown in Connecticut -- one caused by the coronavirus pandemic -- may soon end.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The holiday season is coming up, but Coronavirus cases are on the rise. This hour, we check in with Governor Ned Lamont. Many of us want to see our families, but is that the best thing to do for our state and our health?

Many of Connecticut's surrounding states have been placed on Connecticut’s travel advisory list. And Connecticut's own positivity rate is rising.

Students get off a bus on the first day of school in Connecticut. The first few days will be about setting expectations for mask wearing and social distancing according to superindendents.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

The academic year is well on it’s way. How are students and teachers in Connecticut adapting to their second semester of online learning? 

This hour, Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Miguel A. Cardona joins us to answer our questions and yours on the state of Connecticut’s schools. 

When public schools in Ann Arbor, Mich., closed last spring Betty, an undocumented domestic worker, feared losing her job if she stayed home to help her children navigate virtual schooling.

But even if she could stay home, she worried that she didn't have the English proficiency to support her daughter, a ninth-grader at a public high school in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Despite widespread concerns, two new international studies show no consistent relationship between in-person K-12 schooling and the spread of the coronavirus. And a third study from the United States shows no elevated risk to childcare workers who stayed on the job.

School buses
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

 

More than a dozen schools in Connecticut have gone remote in recent days as COVID-19 outbreaks flared up. Public health officials and school administrators spent the summer trying to craft plans that would avoid shutdowns and keep students in school as long as possible. Other schools seem set on staying open even if their plans don’t end up working out. 

Waterbury Public Schools school buses
Franke Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A new report from Connecticut’s Child Advocate finds staff at Waterbury Public Schools have called the police hundreds of times on elementary and middle school students experiencing mental health crises.

Some of these children were as young as five years old.

By the first day of school, Waterbury Public Schools had yet to contact the entire parent population. 10% were still unresponsive to what the district classified as repeated attempts.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The start of school always means a flurry of communication between the district and parents. This year, that communication has become both more important, and infinitely more complicated, as coronavirus restrictions change all the usual procedures. In Waterbury, some parents and schools are struggling to get on the same page.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

High school football players and their parents from across the state are urging the governing body of high school sports to change course and allow for a football season this year.

Students get off the bus at Prospect Elementary School Tuesday. Buses were sparsely populated, and many parents chose to drive their children to school.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

Brian McGovern reached out of his window to tape a sign to the outside of his mom’s car as they pulled into the parking lot at Prospect Elementary School on Tuesday. In his best fifth grader handwriting, he wrote his name, year and classroom so he could be identified and guided to the proper entrance.

“Are we doing this right?” asked his mother, Liza McGovern.

With Limited Mental Health Staff, Waterbury Calls Police On School Children Under 12

Sep 1, 2020
Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Maria was having a hard time calming down at her elementary school in Waterbury. On a December day just before holiday break in 2018, she was hitting and kicking staff and knocking books off the bookcase. She had recently entered foster care, and this was her third behavioral episode in three weeks.

So the school staff called 9-1-1, telling the dispatcher there was a “four-year-old female out of control.”

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

After a protracted back-and-forth with state health officials, Connecticut’s governing body of high school sports will go ahead with a fall season.

Pixnio

The first day of school is just around the corner for many Connecticut students, but “back to school” will look very different for families across Connecticut. 

This hour, we hear from from students, parents and educational leaders.

File Photo, July 30, 2020: Mirtha N. Aldave, a Hartford HS bilingual teacher showing support as the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and AFT Connecticut organized a car caravan past the Governor's Residence.
Joe Amon / New England News Collaborative

Parents and relatives got to see what life will look like for socially distanced students at Bridgeport’s Central High School Monday. Superintendent Michael Testani led a group through sparsely furnished classrooms and into a cafeteria marked with caution tape. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The pandemic is raising questions about what’s best for children as they head into a new school year, as many schools continue to finalize plans for this fall and parents make individual decisions for their families.

Megan Goslin, a clinical psychologist and research scientist at Yale’s Child Study Center, said it’s a difficult time for everyone. 

CPTV

Whether students return to the classroom or learn online, how should parents and schools weigh concerns around health and equity?

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

How does a national teacher of the year - turned Congresswoman - view school reopening plans in Connecticut? This hour, we talk with Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, who represents Connecticut’s Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The freshman lawmaker is nearing the end of her first term in Congress.

Hayes is a member of the House Education and Labor Committee--we ask her to weigh in what measures need to be in place for students and teachers to return to school safely.

Empty desks in a classroom
Don Harder / Creative Commons

The school year starts soon, and teachers and parents still ask: How will schools open safely?
This hour, we talk with Jeff Leake, the president of the state’s largest teachers union, the Connecticut Education Association.
The union says the state should only open school buildings if CDC and other safety guidelines are met. Some teachers worry that crowded classrooms won’t have sufficient measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
And if schools become fully remote, how can districts ensure that all students are able to access online learning? We, hear from a Columbia University researcher who is helping districts plan ahead for the possibility of returning to fully-remote education.
Are you a teacher or a parent? What fears or concerns do you have for this upcoming school year?

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Students from state high schools will have a shot at athletic competition this fall.

Earlier this year, the state governing body of high school sports stopped play because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has a plan for Connecticut student-athletes to play in games starting Sept. 24 -- with pandemic-friendly adjustments.

Governor Ned Lamont
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The school year may have just ended, but plans are taking shape for the return of students inside schools this fall. Gov. Ned Lamont announced the plans Thursday, noting that several COVID-19 trends are holding steady in Connecticut while the virus continues to spread in other parts of the country.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Glastonbury High School seniors are receiving their diplomas now, even though the governor has paved the way for group graduation ceremonies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

The federal government has sided with a group of Connecticut athletes who have sued the state’s governing body of high school sports over the inclusion of transgender athletes in girls events.

ccarlstead / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s schools will stay closed for the rest of the academic year. This hour, we talk about what two more months of distance learning will look like and what needs to happen before students return to school in the fall. State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and Jeff Leake, the president of Connecticut’s largest teacher’s union, join us.

Later: as we approach the end of the Governor’s closure order, what might re-opening the state look like? We hear from a TIME Magazine reporter about the steps scientists and public health officials say the country must take in order to reopen and return to a “new normal.”

Hartford High School
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday officially canceled in-person schooling for Connecticut students for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year.

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