SHELTON — State leaders said they hope to announce by April 10 whether to extend the school opening date from April 20 or simply not open the buildings for the remainder of the school year.

Interim school Superintendent Beth Smith informed parents March 31 of what she learned on conference calls with Gov. Ned Lamont March 30 and state Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona March 31.

“The pressing topic of when schools will reopen was a priority,” said Smith, adding that no final decision has been made.

“They continue to consult daily with state and federal medical and public health officials and neighboring states on both operational and academic policies and practices,” added Smith. “They hope to communicate a decision regarding the extension of or cancellation for the remainder of the year by April 10.”

Shelton schools were closed on March 13 until further notice. Not long after, Lamont ordered all public schools closed until at least April 20.

“I share your concern about the unknown; it is mine, too,” said Smith to parents. “As I see the number of identified cases of COVID-19 increasing on a daily basis in Shelton, I understand that cautious decision-making with safety first is paramount.”

Three city residents who tested positive for the coronavirus have died, bringing the total of COVID-19-related deaths in the city to four. A total of 48 residents have tested positive for the virus, with Naugatuck Valley Health District officials noting that the number of positives in Shelton jumped by 14 in the 24 hours between March 30 and March 31.

Smith, calling this a true public health crisis, urged all residents to continue to practice social distancing.

“I reassure you that whatever decision is made about the remainder of the school year, Shelton public schools will be prepared,” added Smith. “We will continue to face the future with strength and determination and come out stronger when this is over.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com