State news

School closures extended, Conn. gets laptop, book donations

Connecticut public schools will be closed until at least April 20, the governor said Monday, and the state is looking into re-purposing old nursing homes and empty college dormitories to help free up space for hospitals as they brace for more COVID-19 patients.

To help students learn while schools are closed, Gov. Lamont said the Partnership for Connecticut, a public-private education partnership with Dalio Philanthropies, plans to make 60,000 laptop computers available to high school students. He said the laptops will come at “virtually no cost” to the state of Connecticut.

“Laptops are going to mean that not just suburban kids from wealthier areas, but all kids, can have an access to online learning and education,” he said.

As another philanthropic donor steps forward, Governor Lamont creates task force of superintendents to oversee distribution of remote learning resources

Governor Lamont announced that the Nooyi family is making a donation of high-quality, take-home books from Scholastic that will provide reading and writing instruction to more than 185,000 prekindergarten to 8th grade students while learning from home. The books are aligned with Connecticut state learning standards, and parents are encouraged to work with students at home to complete these exercises.

Students in prekindergarten through the third grade will receive four books per student plus a family resource guide. Students from fourth through eighth grades will receive three books per student and a family resource guide.  Students will be able to keep the books indefinitely.

To oversee the distribution of these resources, Governor Lamont and State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona have created the Governor’s COVID-19 Learn from Home Task Force, which will consist of several superintendents from across the state, including Paul Freeman (Guilford) and Nate Quesnel (East Hartford), who will serve as co-chairs, and Michael Connor (Middletown), Melony Brady Shanley (Winchester), Verna Ruffin (Waterbury), and Iline Tracy (New Haven), who will serve as members. Nick Simmons, Manager of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Governor, and Desi Nesmith, Deputy Commissioner of SDE, will also serve as members. The group will be responsible for coordinating superintendents of districts that opt-in for the donations to ensure a safe and efficient distribution process of these critical learning materials to districts and families across the state.


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