'Wear a mask.' CT health commissioner insists schools are safe, urges mask-wearing
The pandemic has Connecticut schools stretched thin, but the state health commissioner insists that classrooms are safe.
"When you use the public health measures that we know are protective, so that includes masking and some distancing and hand-washing - all the things people know that you can do. And with the fact that most of the older people in the classroom should be vaccinated, this is a very different situation than we were in two years ago," said Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani.
News 12's John Craven was blunt when he responded to the health commissioner and asked a question on many parents' minds.
"But let's be honest about what the situation is in schools right now. We have lots of teachers calling out. Even the schools that are not canceling classes - a lot of times, they're bringing subs in to oversee three, four different classes. It doesn't seem like kids are really learning a whole lot being in schools. So why not let them go remote?" asked Craven.
"If teachers are ill, they're not going to be able to do remote school either. So that's first of all. Second of all, even if more than half of the teachers are in and children are getting in-person learning, what we have seen throughout this pandemic now is reports after reports of how remote learning is really suboptimal for the vast majority of children," Juthani responded.
Craven noted that there is an increasing demand for a statewide mask mandate, which Gov. Ned Lamont has time and again said there is no need for.
"I have been explicitly clear from the beginning of this pandemic that we know masking is the best way to keep people safe," said Juthani.
Craven was insistent asking why not issue a mask mandate for a few weeks at least, if Juthani and other health officials say masks work so well at preventing COVID from spreading.
"That's really a decision for the governor, as you've heard, in terms of policy decision. But I'm telling you right now, that with all the virus circulating, wear a mask," said Juthani.
The health commissioner does believe the worst of the Omicron wave is behind us.
You can watch the full interview with Dr. Juthani this weekend of Power and Politics.