State Senator Will Haskell (D-26) has addressed a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, urging them to permit local school districts to develop hybrid education plans and models for the upcoming school year.

He is also asking for both in-person and virtual class days to count toward the state’s legally mandated 177-day school year.

“Connecticut has made great strides in containing the COVID-19 virus, and we currently have one of the lowest infection rates in the country. In order to continue that success, I believe it is essential that the Department of Education grant school districts with the flexibility they need to plan for a safe reopening in the fall,” Haskell said in the letter.

Further, he said, “It is clear to me and to many of my constituents that social distancing in secondary schools while at full capacity presents unique challenges, including crowded hallways, students moving between classes, lunch scheduling, and more. In that light, I ask that you give local school districts full latitude to make decisions that will keep students and teachers safe.”

Haskell cited a recent memo from the State Board of Education stating any days without students physically on-site would not count as school days, even as teachers continue to teach remotely.

Connecticut’s Board of Education has asked local school districts to each develop three distinct plans for the 2020-21 school year:

 Full reopening of schools at 100-percent in-person capacity with remote learning options available for all students.

 Full closing of schools with 100-percent virtual, remote learning.

 A hybrid model that combines aspects of remote learning and socially-distant, in-person learning.

Haskell is running for re-election to the state senate in the 26th district of Connecticut, which includes portions of Westport, Ridgefield, Wilton, Redding, Weston, Bethel, and New Canaan.

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pgay@wiltonbulletin.com