Gov. Lamont leaning toward letting school districts make final call on mask mandate
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new recommendations Tuesday, advising that even those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission of the virus.
It's also recommending that all children over the age of 2 wear a mask in school regardless of vaccination status.
"I think I'm moving towards guidance, and I think I'd probably tend to track with the CDC as recommended," said Gov. Ned Lamont.
He says he's leaning toward letting local school systems make the final call. Lamont says any state-issued mandate would be made in consultation with state lawmakers, since his emergency powers end on Sept 30.
"I think 'guidance' means 'guidance' right now. Let me see what changes. As I said, look where we were three weeks ago; look where we are today. Give me another couple of weeks and see whether we're Florida or we're Connecticut," he said.
Connecticut's infection rate has jumped to almost 3% in the last few weeks. The state's biggest teacher's union wants a statewide mask mandate.
"The virus doesn't sit in one community and then go, 'Oh OK, these guys are fine.' We have teachers and staff and students that really cross along community lines," said Kate Dias, Connecticut Education Association president.
The state's other teachers union said in a statement, "We are eager to return to in-person instruction without risking our health. We will wear masks if that is required for the safety of our members and the school community."
Connecticut's incoming health commissioner, Dr. Manisha Juthani, admits there are challenges.
"It is challenging because we're trying to reward people that have been doing the hard work on their part in their communities to keep the rate of this infection down," she said.
Connecticut does not meet the threshold for the CDC's guidance on indoor masks at this time, but Hartford and New London counties are just below it. Lamont said new indoor mask rules would likely be on a town-by-town or regional basis.