To get teachers back in the classroom, we need to know the costs of coronavirus health care

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Melissa Szymanski is an elementary school teacher in Windsor, Connecticut. She wrote this column for The Hartford Courant.

Teachers are a keystone of the nation’s economic recovery. We need to return to classrooms so that students can learn, and parents can return to work.

Yet across the country students, teachers and families are in limbo, contending with virtual schooling, which isn’t an ideal learning environment.

To get teachers like me safely back in schools as soon as possible, we must reduce the risk of spreading this disease to our colleagues and students. I want to get back in the classroom just as much as the families whose kids I teach. By routinely taking COVID-19 tests, even if asymptomatic, we can reduce the school outbreak

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Expanding state special ed requirements could mean added costs for school districts

Families with special needs students across the state expected their children’s public education to end last year if they turned 21 years old, but a recent court ruling has given some additional time to build their skills.

A federal court ruling over the summer has extended the time frame for how long these services are required to be offered, meaning districts could have a few more students than initially expected. The change applies to services Connecticut offers under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and went into effect this school year, though the state is appealing the decision.

But some local school officials are concerned that the sometimes high cost of educating these students, most notably through outplacement programs, could become an issue for school boards. More than 200 students stopped receiving services when the lawsuit was filed a few years ago because they turned 21, according to the nonprofit

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