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U.S. Secretary of Education celebrates in-person schooling amid COVID-19 surge

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stopped by two schools during his visit to his home state of Connecticut Friday, where he primarily discussed the Biden administration’s push to develop technical education programs in K-12 schools. During the visit, he celebrated that 98 percent of schools across the country were open in-person.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our students and staff feel safe, that they have the tools that they need,” Cardona said.

He emphasized parents should be getting their children vaccinated, and that schools should be using testing to combat the current rise of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

“With the American Rescue Plan funds, there are funds there for that. We just have to make sure we’re continuing to follow the mitigation strategies that we know work. Increasing vaccination, that’s the best tool we have, and providing tests,” Cardona said.

Cardona lauded the Biden administration’s announcement that it would send 10 million new tests to schools.

Cardona’s remarks come on the heels of criticism from several educator unions, who objected to similar statements from Governor Ned Lamont objecting to temporary remote learning for schools. Critics of Lamont say there are not enough tests to actually keep students and faculty safe. Teachers in some schools protested by wearing black this week.

Some districts and individual schools in Connecticut have made the independent decision close due to COVID-19-fueled staff shortages, in the weeks since returning from holiday break.

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