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Posts from the ‘CEA Messages’ Category

Teachers Call for Steps to Ensure Safe Reopening, Including Hybrid Model 

Nearly 16,000 Connecticut educators responded to CEA’s statewide poll, and their responses underscore the need to strengthen the state’s plan.

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Statement from CEA President Jeff Leake on Governor’s Pledge to ‘Have Teachers’ Backs’

While we appreciate Governor Lamont’s pledge of “safety first” for our students and schools and his word that he will “have teachers’ backs” when it comes to masks, sanitizing, and social distancing, local districts need assurance that state funding will be provided for virus-related expenses.

We can’t allow students living in high-poverty districts, students with special needs, and English learners to be at greater risk and have lesser safety protections. Without adequate state funding, that is likely to occur.

Reopening Connecticut schools safely this fall will cost significantly more and may involve staggered schedules to reduce density and risk. We must ensure that all students and school districts have the resources they need, especially in our poorest communities. In order to protect against the pandemic, restore our economy, and address racial disparities in our schools, the state must provide the needed funding for our schools to reopen safely.

Check Your Email for a Survey From CEA

business-charts-commerce-computer-265087All CEA members should be on the lookout for a survey that is being emailed to you today or tomorrow by CEA President Jeff Leake.

CEA and NEA are conducting a representative and scientific survey of CEA members because we want to hear your concerns regarding the state’s reopening plan. 

Be part of the conversation. Share your issues and concerns to help us advocate on your behalf.

Watch for an email with the subject line Connecticut Educator Survey in your inbox. Your responses are anonymous and will not be linked to your name or email address.

Returning to School: Know Your Rights

CEA’s Legal Department has put together guidance regarding school safety, accommodations, sick leave, and other important issues concerning your rights and COVID-19.

During the pandemic normal rules do not apply, and information is constantly changing—so subscribe for daily email updates from BlogCEA for the latest news and information.

Read guidance from CEA Legal.

Next Friday, July 17, at 3 p.m., NEA’s Office of General Counsel and Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy teams are hosting a webinar about returning to in-person instruction. 

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.    

Sign up here.

How to Request an Absentee Ballot to Vote in the August 11 Primaries

i-voted-sticker-lot-1550340The election this November 3 will be as important as any before it for students and teachers. Elections for federal and state positions will have wide-reaching impacts on everything from keeping our schools safe during the pandemic, to education funding, to involving educators in the decision making processes.

For the first time ever in Connecticut, due to COVID-19, voters can choose to vote by mail via an absentee ballot or in person in the upcoming Democratic and Republican primaries which are being held Tuesday, August 11.

If you are an active, registered voter with a major party affiliation, (Democrat or Republican), you should have received an absentee ballot application in the mail last week from the Secretary of the State’s office.

If you want to vote by mail using an absentee ballot and haven’t sent in your application already, here is what you need to do today: Read more

Vital to Address Teachers’ Concerns About Reopening Plan

Teachers have numerous concerns about Connecticut’s plan for school reopening, and CEA leaders are talking with members daily and working on ways to make sure these issues are addressed.

There are many additional problems, but CEA’s major concerns about the reopening plan are as follows.

  • No state funding is identified to assist in COVID-related costs, leaving already financially strapped districts on their own to pay for additional expenses to keep students, teachers, and staff safe.
  • Districts are asked to prepare multiple plans and submit them to the State Department of Education (SDE) by July 24, but SDE will not approve the plans—only keep them on file.
  • Masks are required for all students, teachers, and staff and local districts are required to procure and pay for PPE and other COVID-related expenses.
  • Many districts are expected to run buses at or near capacity. There is no requirement for a bus monitor to help enforce protocols.
  • There are no COVID-19 testing protocols, or requirements to take temperatures of anyone entering schools.
  • The social distancing benchmark of six feet is not required, and only a guideline if and when it is feasible.

Read more

Connecticut Releases Full School Reopening Guidelines

The state has released its full 50-page reopening guidelines that leave educators and parents with many questions and concerns.

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Connecticut Announces Plans to Fully Reopen Schools in the Fall

At a press conference this afternoon Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona announced reopening guidelines for schools that raise many questions and concerns for educators and parents. The guidelines include no class size caps, staggered schedules, or requirements for COVID-19 testing.

“The reopen plan that we’re asking all districts to complete must include plans to bring all students in daily given health trends in Connecticut,” Cardona said.

Other aspects of the plan announced today include

  • cohorting students when possible, especially in grades K-8,
  • reconfiguring auditoriums, gymnasiums, and other potential classroom space where necessary and possible,
  • operating school buses close to capacity with heightened health and safety protocols,
  • expecting all students and staff to wear a protective face covering or face mask that completely covers the nose and mouth when inside the school building,
  • developing robust monitoring and containment protocols and plans for school closures should community transmission rates increase.

In a joint statement CEA and AFT Connecticut wrote, “Governor Lamont’s plan is short on specifics and doesn’t address some of the most pressing issues associated with reopening our buildings this fall. The new plan raises many concerns and leaves dozens of unanswered questions regarding how schools will operate in a COVID-19 world. Schools should not represent exceptions to widespread standards of health and safety. Educators and school staff deserve the kinds of standard protections from infection that have become familiar in every workplace across the state.” Read more

CEA Members Discuss Ways to Enhance Equity for Students

State Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker.

Issues of equity are top of mind right now for educators watching the news and listening to their students’ worries and concern, and an online forum hosted by CEA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Commission (EMAC) Tuesday gave teachers an opportunity to come together and discuss what was on their minds. 

“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind given the last months, let alone the last week, that equity does not exist in our Connecticut education system. We need to do something to change that,” said CEA President Jeff Leake.

“We can’t map out the entire route to equity today, but we will start that journey,” he continued. “This is about listening to all of you—we want your input.”

“We want to identify strategies, policies, and ideas to put Connecticut on the road to enhancing equity for all students,” said CEA EMAC Chair Sean Mosley, a Waterbury teacher. “Equity means giving all of our students the best shot at hitting a grand slam when it comes to educational achievement, no matter their ZIP code. We’ve seen the lack of consistent, effective models of distance learning in our districts and the lack of technology.”

The forum gave more than 250 CEA members a chance to hear from State Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker before moving into virtual breakout rooms for small group conversations. Read more

CEA President: We Must Achieve Racial and Social Justice

We join hands and hearts with those who are protesting peacefully to mourn the black and brown lives we have lost needlessly while in police custody. We know that decades of protests have not resulted in a justice system that is truly just for all Americans, regardless of color or ethnicity.

We acknowledge that our Union must join with others to work even harder to ensure that here in Connecticut and across the nation our schools and our communities are no longer suffering with inequities, bias, and institutional racism that have defined us for far too long.

Finally, we believe in the words of former Vice President Joe Biden: “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us.”

NEA statement.

Education Minnesota statement and resources.

Resources for teaching about race, racism, and helping students deal with traumatic events.