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Conn. Child Advocate Says Remote Learning Could Deny Consitutional Right To Education

student mask
Alexandra Koch

Connecticut’s Child Advocate wants the state to consider how allowing all school districts to go fully virtual might deny a constitutional right to education during the pandemic.

Sarah Eagan is the state’s top lawyer who protects the rights of children. She says schools in New Haven, Danbury, Waterbury and Bridgeport have fully closed without in-person options for students with disabilities.

“What I worry about is that there are children who are particularly vulnerable, who are in need of extensive direct service and support, who aren’t getting anything, and haven’t been getting anything for months and months and may not get anything for months and months more'', she said. "What are we going to do about that?”

She said the state should require districts to prove, with public health data, options for closing that will do the least amount of harm.

Eagan said school is an essential service and that means all staff should get adequate access to personal protective gear. Her comments came after teachers unions called for online-only schooling last week, due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.