Trumbull Lawmakers Ask for State to Study Pandemic Effects on Children
HARTFORD—Trumbull State Reps. David Rutigliano, Laura Devlin and Ben McGorty on Wednesday said restrictions on schoolchildren that come through a statewide or regional public health emergency declaration should trigger a thorough evaluation by state education officials, contending more must be done to understand how such decisions affect learning and social-emotional well-being.
Our children have struggled significantly over the last two years due to Covid and all of its restrictions and challenges, yet the state has not evaluated how the emergency declaration orders, and all the restrictions have affected our students,” said Rep. Rutigliano. “We need to learn more about what happened, address to gaps and make sure if we implement future policies that do not repeat the mistakes or harm our kids.”
Rep. Devlin said, “State officials should evaluate how the public health impact of such restrictions balance against the educational, emotional and social impact on kids. The mental harm and learning deficits done to our children was possibly the worst thing to come out of the pandemic.”
“We must put safeguards in place to ensure that we do not allow such harm onto our school-aged children again, regardless of any emergency declaration. With what we have learned over the past two years, we are equipped to both prioritize public health and not jeopardize children’s education and personal development,” said Rep. McGorty.
Rep. Rutigliano was joined by fellow Republicans, including Devlin and McGorty during Wednesday’s House session in proposing an amendment (LCO 5060) that would require the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health and the Office of Early Childhood, to evaluate any restriction imposed on children in grades K-12 and childcare centers issued through a public health emergency declaration.
The amendment from Republicans required the commissioners of the departments of Public Health and Education to issue a joint report to the legislature no later than 30 days after the imposition of (a public health related) restriction.
Democrats rejected the proposal in a 94 to 52 vote.
Parents and on-the-ground educators alike have shared concern that masking, for example, has slowed the ability of young children to engage in phonics, and that prolonged remote learning has left students feeling isolated.