HEADLINES

Lamont Announces $266 Million Package for CT Schools to Offset Reopening Costs

Video of Governor Lamont news briefing

$266 million package for Connecticut schools is one of the largest per-student funding plans in the region

Governor Lamont today highlighted his administration’s commitment of $266 million to assist school districts with offsetting additional, unbudgeted costs associated with safely reopening schools and providing all children with equitable access to a high-quality education.

The funding package accounts for one of the largest PK-12 state funding plans per-student in the region and country, and is derived from three sources: the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds, the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

Breakdown of the school funding streams:

  • The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund is the main federal funding stream dedicated to supporting the state’s PK-12 system during the COVID-19 crisis. As previously announced, Connecticut received $111 million in ESSER of which $11 million is being reserved for state level activities that address the following priorities: internet connectivity; online academic content; and social/emotional supports. The balance of funds – $99 million – is being distributed to local districts who have significant flexibility in how they spend the grant so that existing education funds can be repurposed to areas of highest need, mitigate fiscal impacts, and immediately address educational disruptions.
  • Connecticut has reserved 12 percent, or $160 million of its portion of funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to directly assist school districts with unbudgeted costs associated with COVD-19. In comparison to neighboring states, Connecticut’s dedication of CRF solely for education is 3 percent higher than Massachusetts, and 8 percent higher than both Rhode Island and Vermont. To determine the CRF allocation amounts for districts, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) conducted a survey of districts asking for the reopening model they selected and the estimated costs they anticipated incurring above their appropriated budget for the 2020-21 school year. Districts were notified that their survey responses on cost estimates would be used to directly inform Governor Lamont and the Office of Policy and Management in their decision-making about the allocation of funds. The information provided by districts led to a commitment of significant CRF funding by the governor for the reimbursement of expenditures related to (1) building cleaning, health, and PPE; (2) transportation; (3) academic; and (4) student support. This week, CSDE notified districts of an adjustment to their CRF allocations in the transportation-related personnel and non-personnel categories. This change will mean that some districts will see an increase in their allocation and others will see a correction that brings their allocation back to the amount they originally requested in response to the CSDE survey. To read the district-by-district allocation amounts for ESSER and CRF, click here.
  • In addition, more than half of Connecticut’s receipt of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, or about $15 million, will go towards closing the PK-12 digital divide to ensure disadvantaged students and their teachers will have equal access to technology and connectivity to support remote learning opportunities. As part of the Lamont administration’s launch of the Everybody Learns initiative, a $43.5 million investment combining ESSER, CRF, and GEER will be made to purchase 50,000 laptops for students, provide 12 months of access to at-home internet for 60,000 students, create public hotspots free to the public at 200 community sites across the state, and offer social emotional learning content to school districts statewide.

 

Governor Lamont Provides Update on Connecticut’s Coronavirus Response Efforts

Posted on August 27, 2020

   
   

(HARTFORD, CT) – As the State of Connecticut continues taking actions in response to the global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Governor Ned Lamont provided the following updates as of 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 27, 2020:

Data updates on testing in Connecticut

The following is a summary of the day-to-day newly reported data on cases, deaths, and tests in Connecticut. It is important to note that these newly reported updates include data that occurred over the last several days to a week. All data in this report are preliminary, and data for previous dates will be updated as new reports are received and data errors are corrected.

Overall Summary

Statewide Total
(includes confirmed and probable cases)

Change Since Yesterday

COVID-19 Cases

52,350

+130

COVID-19-Associated Deaths

4,465

+2

Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19

56

-1

COVID-19 PCR Tests Reported

1,111,401

+15,452

County-by-county breakdown:

County

COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 Deaths

COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Confirmed

Probable

Confirmed

Probable

Fairfield County

18,005

716

1,099

314

15

Hartford County

12,660

647

1,105

321

14

Litchfield County

1,600

73

118

21

0

Middlesex County

1,375

63

154

38

2

New Haven County

13,143

441

959

150

21

New London County

1,459

67

79

27

4

Tolland County

1,045

67

51

14

0

Windham County

775

10

14

1

0

Pending address validation

193

11

0

0

0

Total

50,255

2,095

3,579

886

56

For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “COVID-19 Data Tracker.”

Weekly update on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes and assisted living facilities

The following documents contain the weekly data regarding each of the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Connecticut that have reported positive cases of COVID-19 among their residents. The data is presented as it was reported to the state by each of the facilities. If a facility is not listed, that means it is reporting that it does not have any residents who have tested positive.

Connecticut Department of Public Health acting commissioner issues order expanding nursing home visitations

Connecticut Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford today issued an order expanding visitation in Connecticut nursing homes and clarifying for all long-term care facilities their obligations to facilitate visitations however possible to keep residents connected to loved ones on the outside on a regular basis. Since March 9, 2020, in-person visitation has been prohibited in Connecticut nursing homes, except for compassionate care visits only in the case where the resident is in the end stages of life when death is imminent.

The purpose of restricting visitation has been to reduce the risk that anyone from the outside could bring COVID-19 infection into a nursing home and endanger the health of residents or staff. Socially distanced visitation has permitted outside at nursing homes since May. The Department of Public Health has encouraged and facilitated as much virtual visitation as possible between nursing home residents and loved ones through the purchase of 800 iPad tablet devices that make video conversations possible.

“Nursing home residents with serious underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable population when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Gifford said. “We must continue to protect residents from exposure to this deadly virus, but not at the expense of sacrificing their emotional health and wellbeing. Residents and their families and loved ones on the outside have a right to see each other on a regular basis. With community-level transmission of COVID-19 consistently low in Connecticut for weeks and the number of new cases in nursing homes dramatically reduced since June, we feel strongly that we can make this happen safely. We and the long-term care industry have an obligation to provide for consistent visitation and we look forward to working together to increase opportunities for residents and families to see each other.”

“Individuals that live in long-term care communities and their family members have been more impacted than any other members of our community at large,” Mairead Painter, the State of Connecticut’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, said. “We know there are incredible infection control concerns, but risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic go well beyond being diagnosed with the virus. Residents not only require high quality person-centered medical care, but it is also essential that their social and emotional needs are met. This order moves to find more balance between the two. Many residents have been experiencing the effects of isolation due to the necessary COVID precautions. Family members have been waiting almost 6 months to be reconnected with residents in long-term care communities. This expanded guidance addresses the need for individualized care to prevent further decline and when provide for the immediate need some residents have for contact with family members.

Commissioner Gifford’s new order on visitation takes the following actions:

General Visitation

  • Clarifies that visits may occur more than once per week;
  • Requires nursing homes to develop a facility-wide visitation policy;
  • Requires facilities to assess the psychosocial needs of each resident and develop individualized visitation plans to meet those needs;
  • Extends the minimum time for perimeter visits (e.g. window visits, socially distanced outdoor visits) from 20 minutes to 30 minutes; and
  • Requires facilities to designate no less than five days per week as visitation days, one of which shall be a Saturday or Sunday, from which a resident’s visitation schedule can be devised.

Compassionate Care Visits

  • Confirms that compassionate care visits may take place indoors and do not require social distancing (touching allowed), as long as visitors and residents wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as determined and supplied by the nursing home;
  • Expands compassionate care visits beyond end-of-life visits to include visits for residents who undergo significant change in physical, mental, or psychosocial condition including:
    • Weight loss;
    • Increased sleeping, confusion or agitation;
    • Delirium or other decline in cognition; and
    • New onset or increase of symptoms of mental illness;
  • Requires change of condition to be determined in consultation with resident’s physician, physician assistant, or advance practice registered nurse;
  • Requires Facilities to suspend expanded Compassionate Care visits for significant changes in physical, mental, or psychosocial conditions whenever the Facility experiences an outbreak of COVID-19.This suspension must be maintained until the Facility has complied with Executive Order No. 7AAA to test nursing home staff and residents weekly, and has had no positive COVID-19 cases among staff or residents for 14 days. A facility is deemed to have a COVID-19 outbreak when the facility has at least one COVID-19 positive case among staff or residents.

Connecticut Department of Public Health issues citations against two nursing homes for violating governor’s COVID-19 testing order

The Connecticut Department of Public Health today announced that it has issued citations against two nursing homes – one in Hartford and one in Hamden – for violating Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7AAA, which requires nursing homes to test staff and residents weekly for COVID-19. In each case, the nursing homes failed to properly implement the testing policy, under which all staff and residents are required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly until the facility records 14 days of testing with no new positive cases. Testing is being 100 percent funded by state and federal dollars through October 31, 2020.

“The State of Connecticut is serious about testing staff and residents at nursing homes regularly for COVID-19,” Public Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford said. “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our nursing home population, many of whom have serious underlying health conditions. Testing for the virus is critical to helping us see where disease is happening so we can respond quickly in the case of any outbreak. Governor Lamont’s administration has gone to great effort to make this testing strategy as easy to implement for our nursing homes as possible. We have set up a care partner network to manage the testing and we are fully funding it through a combination of state and federal dollars.”

Fines were issued against the following facilities:

  • Avery Nursing Home/Noble Building in Hartford: $1,140
  • Hamden Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Hamden: $1,140

The citations can be found online on the Department of Public Health’s Nursing Homes Inspection Documents reporting system. To find a specific violation, enter a date range for documents from between August 1, 2020 and today.

$266 million package for Connecticut schools is one of the largest per-student funding plans in the region

Governor Lamont today highlighted his administration’s commitment of $266 million to assist school districts with offsetting additional, unbudgeted costs associated with safely reopening schools and providing all children with equitable access to a high-quality education. The funding package accounts for one of the largest PK-12 state funding plans per-student in the region and country, and is derived from three sources: the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds, the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

Breakdown of the school funding streams:

  • The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund is the main federal funding stream dedicated to supporting the state’s PK-12 system during the COVID-19 crisis. As previously announced, Connecticut received $111 million in ESSER of which $11 million is being reserved for state level activities that address the following priorities: internet connectivity; online academic content; and social/emotional supports. The balance of funds – $99 million – is being distributed to local districts who have significant flexibility in how they spend the grant so that existing education funds can be repurposed to areas of highest need, mitigate fiscal impacts, and immediately address educational disruptions.
  • Connecticut has reserved 12 percent, or $160 million of its portion of funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to directly assist school districts with unbudgeted costs associated with COVD-19. In comparison to neighboring states, Connecticut’s dedication of CRF solely for education is 3 percent higher than Massachusetts, and 8 percent higher than both Rhode Island and Vermont. To determine the CRF allocation amounts for districts, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) conducted a survey of districts asking for the reopening model they selected and the estimated costs they anticipated incurring above their appropriated budget for the 2020-21 school year. Districts were notified that their survey responses on cost estimates would be used to directly inform Governor Lamont and the Office of Policy and Management in their decision-making about the allocation of funds. The information provided by districts led to a commitment of significant CRF funding by the governor for the reimbursement of expenditures related to (1) building cleaning, health, and PPE; (2) transportation; (3) academic; and (4) student support. This week, CSDE notified districts of an adjustment to their CRF allocations in the transportation-related personnel and non-personnel categories. This change will mean that some districts will see an increase in their allocation and others will see a correction that brings their allocation back to the amount they originally requested in response to the CSDE survey. To read the district-by-district allocation amounts for ESSER and CRF, click here.
  • In addition, more than half of Connecticut’s receipt of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, or about $15 million, will go towards closing the PK-12 digital divide to ensure disadvantaged students and their teachers will have equal access to technology and connectivity to support remote learning opportunities. As part of the Lamont administration’s launch of the Everybody Learns initiative, a $43.5 million investment combining ESSER, CRF, and GEER will be made to purchase 50,000 laptops for students, provide 12 months of access to at-home internet for 60,000 students, create public hotspots free to the public at 200 community sites across the state, and offer social emotional learning content to school districts statewide.

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