I reported in mid-June that Franklin Academy’s trustees and administrators would decide on August 14, whether statewide conditions permit a safe return to campus in September. Frankly, we wanted additional time to review all available numbers to make a data-driven decision. Apparently, Connecticut’s Governor agrees with our approach. As stated in the Hartford Courant this past Monday, Ned Lamont said that “Connecticut is preparing three different scenarios for the opening of schools and a final decision on how education will look will be made in a month.” That date is August 13.
First and foremost, we must consider the status of community spread and the pandemic’s surge across America. I am alarmed by the raging contagion, but I am encouraged by the trending numbers in our State. Indeed, Dr. Matt Cartter, Connecticut’s epidemiologist, said last week that he feels “grateful” for our progress in containing the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Governor Lamont is about to impose a more rigorously administered quarantine requirement on travelers from pandemic hot zones. Thank goodness!
I encourage you to visit websites that I review every day. First, I recommend rt.live to ascertain “up-to-date values for Rt, a key measure of how fast the virus is growing. It’s the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. When Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading.” I also go to portal.ct.gov for my regular update of Connecticut’s essential numbers – daily tests, confirmed cases, and hospitalizations. I am particularly interested in the positivity percentage – confirmed instances divided by the daily number of COVID-19 tests. The average daily infection rate should not exceed five percent to control the community spread of coronavirus. Yesterday, our positivity rate in Connecticut was under one percent – .81%.
Johns Hopkins’ worldwide site is part of my regular review, though the plethora of numbers can be overwhelming. However, everyone will quickly see how poorly the United States is doing in comparison to European countries. Additionally, I like the easy-to-read visuals and numbers available at covidexitstrategy.org and covidactnow.org.
Please know that we will continue our deep dive into the numbers and published articles. We will carefully listen to State officials, medical experts, and educators who we respect and trust. We will consult with colleagues and parents. Then, Franklin Academy will make a thoughtful decision on August 14 that focuses on teachers’ and students’ safety. Stay posted. Be well.