ctnewsjunkie file
L to R: Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, COO Josh Geballe, and Gov. Ned Lamont, and Connecticut first lady Annie Lamont, outside the governor’s residence in March (ctnewsjunkie file)

Gov. Ned Lamont made it official Tuesday and announced that school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the school year. He has not made a decision yet about summer school programming.

Lamont will require schools to continue to provide meals to children and teachers will continue to provide distance learning opportunities.

“I know how important it is for so many students and teachers to finish out the school year, and I was holding out hope – particularly for high school seniors – that we’d at least be able to complete the final few weeks, but given the current circumstances and to protect everyone’s safety, it has become clear that it’s just not possible,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “I want to thank the many educators across our state who have stepped up to provide remote learning during this time, as well as the many staff members who’ve been putting thousands of meals together for students each and every day.”

The Connecticut Education Association and the Connecticut Association of School Administrators said they support the decision to complete the school year with distance learning.

“We understand the emotion and sadness regarding closing schools and missing certain milestones and celebrations, but at this time, everyone’s top priority must be to protect the health of students and staff, and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” CEA President Jeff Leake said.

While there is no substitute for in-person teaching, educators will continue to provide distance learning and do all they can to keep students engaged and learning during the next several weeks, as they have been doing since mid-March.

“The reality is that no student can learn successfully in an unsafe environment, and re-opening schools before the coronavirus has been contained would only put students, teachers and administrators at risk,” Anthony Ditrio, chair of CASA, said. “The most important thing we can all do now is work together to ensure a safe and successful reopening in the fall and hope that public health considerations will allow it to happen.”

Lamont is expected to detail the plans at 4 p.m. with Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and Beth Bye from the Office of Early Childhood.

It’s unclear what accommodations will be made for special education students who need more one-on-one attention from teachers.

It’s also unclear what it means for Connecticut’s economic recovery since many working parents will struggle to get back to work without school or childcare.