During a webinar today State Department of Education (SDE) officials, joined by Governor Ned Lamont and Acting Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Deidre Gifford, answered questions submitted by educators and parents on a range of topics that included many health and safety concerns.
While today’s webinar was a step toward answering teachers’ and parents’ questions about school reopening, many issues remain.
“The health and safety of our students, educators, and staff and the funding necessary for COVID-related expenses are among the top priorities for CEA and our members,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “Having the right resources to protect the health of students and educators is critical. We continue to be concerned about transportation issues and meeting the needs of high-risk students and educators, as well as students with special needs. We look forward to continuing to work with the governor and the commissioner on these important issues.” Read more
NEA’s Office of General Counsel and Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy teams will host a webinar about returning to in-person instruction this Friday, July 10, at 3 p.m.
Sign up here.
When school buildings reopen, the health and safety of students and educators must be a top priority. What rights do you have as an educator when schools return to in-person instruction? How can you advocate for your health and safety and those of your students?
The webinar will cover:
- Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts;
- Educator rights related to accommodations, leave, and liability waivers; and
- What educators and NEA affiliates can do to advocate for safe, healthy schools.
When you register, please submit any questions you may have about your rights or other considerations.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García welcomed teacher delegates to the 2020 NEA RA.
This year’s National Education Association Representative Assembly, themed Our Democracy; Our Responsibility; Our time was unlike any other, as more than 7,000 delegates logged in virtually to conduct the organization’s business.
“We have masks, social distancing, and disinfectant,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said, referring to the podium at NEA headquarters she would be sharing only with NEA officers. “Because nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a global pandemic, is going to stop the National Education Association from doing its work.” Read more
A new bill introduced by U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Chuck Schumer would be an important move toward allowing schools to open safely this fall. The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act includes $175 billion for K-12 schools, $12 billion for special education, and $4 billion for the E-Rate program to narrow the digital divide that is hitting our most vulnerable students.
“Educators want nothing more than to return to in-person instruction and be back with their students, but they know reopening school buildings and college campuses has to be done safely,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Sens. Patty Murray and Chuck Schumer know that students cannot wait because school districts across the country are working on school reopening plans now. That’s why they introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act, which will go a long way to giving our students and educators the resources they need to rise up from the economic fallout caused by this devastating COVID-19 pandemic.”
Speaking with NBC 30 recently, CEA Executive Director Don Williams said that Connecticut schools can’t reopen safely without additional funding. Districts will incur costs for masks and plastic shields, room dividers, the reconfiguration of common areas into new classroom spaces, and much more. Read more
Photo by Kate Mereand-Sinha via Flickr.
The U.S. Supreme Court today handed a victory to those seeking to divert money away from public schools and expand voucher programs. In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that Montana must reinstate a voucher program and allow parents to use their vouchers at religious as well as secular private schools.
“Let’s be clear about what we’ve witnessed with today’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue—an extreme Supreme Court just joined the far-right effort to undermine one of our country’s most cherished democratic institutions: public education,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
She continued, “At a time when public schools nationwide already are grappling with protecting and providing for students despite a pandemic and mounting budget shortfalls, the court has made things even worse, opening the door for further attacks on state decisions not to fund religious schools.” Read more
Bridgeport music teacher Sheena Graham appeared on NBC Connecticut last night sharing her concerns about returning to school.
Teachers are concerned about a plan to return to school in the fall that doesn’t include testing or screening of staff and students, limits on class sizes, or provisions to ensure social distancing. Since the plan was released yesterday, many CEA members have been speaking out and sharing their concerns with Connecticut media outlets.
“There are so many precautions that have to be put in place that all depend on funding,” says Bridgeport music teacher and 2019 Connecticut teacher of the year Sheena Graham. “If they’re not able to be met, then I don’t think we’re able to open up the buildings again.”
Graham and Marlborough kindergarten teacher Amy Farrior expressed their concerns to NBC Connecticut. Farrior said, “I tear up when I think about keeping kindergarteners away from each other, away from me.”
U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes shared many of her former colleagues’ concerns in a Tweet last night to Governor Lamont. Read more