CSDE Outlines 6 Steps to Keeping Schools Open Safely

Posted on January 22, 2021

The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) recently released the following 6-steps they are using to keep schools across our state open safely.

  1. Priority Access to COVID Testing — The State has contracted with testing partners to provide priority access testing for all staff in schools and childcare settings. Priority access is intended for staff who need to get tested quickly, in order to ensure their work day is not interrupted. Among the state-contracted partners who support this effort are CHC, Inc., Sema4, and CIC Health. More info can be found at ct.gov/priorityworkforcetest.
  2. BinaxNOWTM COVID Testing — BinaxNOWTM COVID tests are available to all school districts throughout the state to be used for their symptomatic students and staff. For more information on BinaxNOWTM tests, email: Christopher.lyddy@ct.gov.
  3. Vaccines — In Connecticut, DPH has started the roll-out of Phase 1b which will ultimately include access for all of our school staff. CSDE supported, and Governor Lamont accepted, the recommendation from the Vaccine Allocation Subcommittee to include all school staff in this Phase as frontline essential workers. At this time, access to vaccine appointments is only for individuals who are 75 years of age or older because of the high mortality rate for those individuals. CSDE and DPH plan to ensure, when it is appropriate, school staff have fast access to vaccine appointments. Connecticut also continues to implement Phase 1a, which includes school nurses.
  4. Contact Tracing Support — The CSDE has partnered with the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) to match districts with contracted support staff who will increase capacity to assist with contact tracing efforts. School districts interested in getting matched with this support can do so at https://casci.ac/6338.
  5. CSDE/DPH COVID-19 Health and Safety Tuesdays — This is a weekly opportunity for superintendents, health officials, policymakers and other educational partners to engage in dialogue with CT’s Department of Public Health (DPH) and the CSDE for guidance and strategies for a successful, healthy and safe school year. To date there are over 900 regularly registered participants.
  6. Up-To-Date Guidance and Assistance — The CSDE, in close collaboration with the DPH and other partners in public health and education, continue to issue relevant guidance and provide school districts with technical assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, FAQs, Reopening Plan Addenda, Webinar Training Series, and Data Visualization Tools.