Monday, December 06, 2021

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Lamont Closes All Public Schools, Takes Other Actions

By Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

www.ctmirror.org

UPDATE Gov. Ned Lamont today ordered all public schools closed through the end of March in his latest attempt to slow the spread of the potentially fatal coronavirus.

The governor also announced he is meeting Monday with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to discuss a coordinated, regional approach to closing restaurants and bars, saying he’s not prepared to close Connecticut establishments until he reaches an agreement with neighboring states.

“It doesn’t make any sense for Connecticut to do something and New York not because then people just go across the border, Lamont told reporters outside the governor’s residence in Hartford.

Connecticut now has a total of 26 confirmed cases: six more since Saturday, though that number is likely much higher since testing has been limited.

According to the governor’s office, the six new cases break down as follows: Fairfield county has one new case; Hartford county has two new cases; Litchfield county has one new case; and New Haven county has two new cases.

Lamont’s announcement to close schools starting Tuesday comes after governors in 22 other states – including Vermont and New Hampshire – have already shut down schools. New York officials announced today that public schools will close in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 40% of grandparents currently provide childcare for their grandchildren and “school closures will likely increase this percentage.”

Lamont said today he is unsure how long the closure will last.

“I have no idea whether it will be two weeks. But we are saying plan on two weeks for now,” he said during a news conference outside the governor’s residence in Hartford.

The CDC reports that data shows short-term school closures have minimal effect on containing the virus, but long-term closures can be effective.

“Available modeling data indicate that early, short to medium closures do not impact the epicure of COVID-19 or available health care measures (e.g., hospitalizations),” according to guidance issued by the CDC last week.

“There may be some impact of much longer closures (8 weeks, 20 weeks) further into community spread, but that modeling also shows that other mitigation efforts (e.g., hand washing, home isolation) have more impact on both spread of disease and health care measures.”

Lamont also signed orders that:

Provides flexibility for municipal budget deadlines and related issues.

Authorizes the DMV commissioner to close branches to the public, conduct business remotely, and extend deadlines.

Allows restrictions on visitor access to psychiatric facilities in order to protect vulnerable residents, patients, and staff.

Lamont is requesting the Small Business Administration issue a declaration enabling Connecticut’s small business owners to receive disaster assistance.

The Department of Revenue Services is extending the filing deadline for certain annual state business tax returns

Responding to the national shortage of hand sanitizer, the state today issued a set of rules to pharmacies so they can begin producing and selling their own hand sanitizer while ensuring its effectiveness and safety.

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