The health and safety of our students, our educators, and our communities cannot be sacrificed in order to get students back into the classroom. The reopening plan released by the state of Connecticut—which calls for a full-time return to school—raises serious questions about maintaining the safety of everyone in our school communities during a pandemic that is not fully under control.
CEA’s Safe Learning Plan, released today, requires that health, safety, and equity remain at the forefront of any school reopening plan. It prioritizes strategies for student learning and educational equity, providing a safe way forward whether in school or through remote learning.
“Nothing is more important than keeping our students, our educators, and our families safe,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “We owe our students and educators the measures of safety and security they deserve. We must not fail to provide the necessary protections and risk new increases in COVID-19 infection rates. No one wants to return to school more than our dedicated educators, but during a global pandemic, the health and safety of our students and educators must be our first priority.”
CEA’s plan calls for six specific actions that must be taken before schools reopen. Those actions focus on physical health and safety standards, combined with CDC protocols and commonsense approaches to keeping our school communities safe.
Read the full plan here.
Recent NEA webinars covered a lot of ground, including CDC guidance on how to reopen for in-person instruction and when to reclose, accommodations for high-risk groups, federal leave laws, waivers, health and safety committees, and bargaining for the common good to protect school communities during a global pandemic.
Find out more and watch the webinar here.
CEA’s Legal Department has also put together guidance regarding school safety, accommodations, sick leave, and other important issues concerning your rights and COVID-19.
Read guidance from CEA Legal.
Save the date! CEA will be holding the CEA Virtual Summer Experience August 3-5. Join us for a great opportunity to learn from your colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere and at your own pace.
These live, interactive sessions of an hour or more each are open to all CEA members.
• Best Practices for Virtual Learning (K-5)
• Best Practices for Virtual Learning (Middle/HS)
• How to Engage Students in Conversations About Race (K-5)
• How to Engage Students in Conversations About Race (Middle/HS)
• Member Engagement in a Virtual World
• Signing Up New Hires
• Teacher Rights and Responsibilities in a Virtual Teaching Environment
• Treasurers/Membership Chairs Training
Check out the flier for full session descriptions.
At each session, members in attendance will be entered for a gift card drawing.
Watch for more information in your inbox and by subscribing to BlogCEA. Registration opens on Monday, July 27th.
The State Board of Education today voted to offer a waiver to Connecticut school districts for three of the 180 days usually required by state statute. Those three days could instead be used at the start of the school year for additional PD for staff, classroom set-up for educators, to provide social emotional services or training for staff, or for similar supports for families and students.
Read the full text of the resolution.
During a press conference yesterday, Governor Lamont said that he will make a final call in early August as to whether schools can open safely for in-person learning—based on the COVID-19 infection rate in the state at that time.
“We have the challenge of having to be ready to change course at any given point, which logistically is very difficult,” Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said. “I recognize the fear and anxiety that exists, and I share a lot of the concerns. As much as Connecticut is doing well, COVID knows no state boarders.” Read more
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