Governor Ned Lamont today announced the rollout of the Screen and Stay initiative for Connecticut schools that choose to participate. Under the initiative, students and staff identified as close contacts to a known COVID-19 case but who are not yet fully vaccinated will be able to remain in school if they were wearing masks and don’t develop symptoms.
The initiative will bring immediate relief to the frequent and repeated quarantines that continue to impact student learning and place a burden on working families. The innovative, multi-agency solution will aid school districts through the remainder of the fall.
Students and staff are eligible to participate in the close contact with a COVID-19 case occurs under the following circumstances:
- Exclusively during the school day (no extracurricular or social contact);
- If indoors or on a school bus or other school transportation, and both the contact and the COVID-19 case were consistently masked during the exposure even if brief unmasked periods (e.g., snack time, cafeteria) occurred, as long as six feet or more of space was consistently maintained;
- If outdoors, the individuals were masked or unmasked but were supervised by staff (e.g., mask breaks, physical education, recess);
- The close contact remains asymptomatic (any symptoms revert to regular isolation/quarantine).
Examples of close contact scenarios that do not support a Screen and Stay approach would be:
- Contact with a case during interscholastic or other athletic activities (other than during supervised outdoor physical education and recess);
- Contact occurring during social interactions or similar activities outside of school (e.g., birthday parties, dining out, sleepovers);
- Contact where the individuals were not consistently and correctly wearing masks indoors and a six-foot distance was not maintained;
- The contact occurred between members of the same household (i.e., the contact lives with the case);
- If, upon return to school, the contact cannot consistently and correctly wear a mask.
“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve consistently done our best to maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff, while also understanding that students achieve the greatest outcomes when they have access to in-person learning,” Governor Lamont said. “The recent approval of the COVID-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11 marks an incredibly promising development in these ongoing efforts. While that rollout occurs, the Screen and Stay initiative will help ensure that more students can remain in school and we can provide a safe, in-person learning environment.”