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Mindful Moment: A Cup Of Tea

This series of short videos from CEA Teacher Development Specialist Kate Field illustrates how mindfulness can enhance the overall well being of students and teachers.

Teachers Sending Positive Thoughts to Rep. Hayes & Family After Husband Tests Positive for COVID-19

CEA members are sending well wishes to the family of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes today after she announced that her husband, a Waterbury police detective, has tested postive for COVID-19.

In a statement, Hayes said that her husband “seems to be healthy and asymptomatic” and that she has tested negative. “Out of an abundance of caution, and in keeping in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, my family and I will be quarantining at home for the next 14 days and self-monitoring for symptoms. I will continue working remotely, talking with constituents and community leaders, and communicating daily with colleagues as we work on the next relief package to combat the health and economic crisis that our country is in.”

CEA President Jeff Leake said, “We are sending positive thoughts to Jahana and her family and wish her husband Milford a speedy recovery. We are very fortunate to have first responders like him who are risking their health during this crisis.”

“While some are clamoring to return to Washington to conduct in-person business, this test result in my own family has reinforced that we still have a ways to go,” Hayes said. “There is still real danger in a premature return to regular order for Congress and the country, without appropriate precautions.”

CEA President: Decision to Reopen Schools Must Focus on Health and Safety

An op-ed by CEA President Jeff Leake that appeared in today’s Hartford Courant and CTNewsJunkie is receiving attention from media outlets around the state.

In response to a question from a Fox 61 reporter about whether schools should open in June, Leake said, “We don’t think enough is in place, enough planning has been done, enough supplies are in place to make that happen. I think we need to plan for and hope for an opening in September, but it’s not going to be everyone walking into the school building at the same time as we have done in the past. I’m almost certain that’s not going to happen, even in the fall.”

Governor Lamont has said he will announce when schools will reopen in the coming weeks.

Read President Leake’s op-ed below.

Decision to Reopen State Must Focus on Safety, Health, and Saving Lives

Connecticut is on the verge of making a critical decision regarding the fight against the COVID-19 health emergency. Prior to May 20, the governor will need to make a decision about whether to extend the stay-at-home order or open state businesses and schools.

Our leaders must continue to listen to the advice of top health experts and not succumb to pressure to reopen public schools and businesses prematurely. Easing up on social distancing too quickly could be deadly. Read more

Education Commissioner Addresses What’s Next for Public Education

Hundreds of teachers tonight heard answers to some of their biggest questions about how public education will move forward in Connecticut, as the state begins looking at a possible phased-in reopening of businesses, schools, and other facilities and services.

How will teachers and students be protected? Will distance learning continue even as schools reopen? What happens if someone at school has COVID-19 symptoms?

These were just a handful of the many questions posed to State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, Deputy Commissioner of Academics and Innovation Desi Nesmith, and Deputy Commissioner of Educational Supports and Wellness Charlene Russell-Tucker during a live, hour-long webinar hosted by CEA and AFT Connecticut.

CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel acknowledged members of both unions for taking time after a full day of teaching to join the webinar and make their questions and concerns heard, and Dr. Cardona thanked teachers for continuing to engage students academically and provide emotional connections while also caring for their own families and loved ones.

Highlights from tonight’s Q&A with Commissioner Cardona and his staff follow. Watch for a full video to be posted to cea.org in the coming days. Read more

Special COVID-19 CEA Advisor in Your Mailbox This Week

Get answers to your questions, plus online safety tips, teaching support, and stress management tools in a Special Edition of the CEA Advisor arriving at your home this week. You can also read the edition online.

Read about some of the ways CEA is continuing to support members and local associations during school shutdowns in the article below that appears on page two of the edition.

CEA Provides Critical Support, Training, Advocacy During School Shutdowns

Educators have been working hard to adjust to a new way of teaching and connecting with their students, all while coping with the struggles of economic uncertainty, social isolation, and caring for family members while working.

CEA, meanwhile, has been advocating for teachers, holding regular weekly meetings with the state education commissioner, providing and receiving guidance on education policy and practices during the pandemic, and developing and hosting free professional learning so that members can adapt to the new and changing realities of distance learning. Read more

Survey: Distance Learning Taking a Toll on Teachers

According to a new survey from CEA, AFT Connecticut, and WFSB Channel 3, distance learning is causing stress and overwhelm for teachers, whose workload has increased.

Watch WFSB’s report from last night, and tune in tonight and Wednesday at 11 p.m. for more special reports on how students and teachers are handling the transition to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Standing Up for Our Students and Strong Public Schools

Teachers are reaching students in creative ways during these difficult times and doing all they can for them. As cities and towns consider school budgets for next school year, teachers must be part of the conversation.

 

CEA Mindfulness Moment: The Power of Positive Images

These uncertain times are causing anxiety and stress. Wind down with weekly CEA Mindful Moments videos brought to you by CEA Teacher Development Specialist Kate Field, who shares uplifting stories and activities that can enhance your well-being.

 

Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique for raising moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts and feelings. During these challenging times, teachers share that they are feeling frustrated, exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, tired, anxious, and unsure about the future.

“Many teachers are trying to figure out distance learning and how to make it work for all learners,” says Field. “You may be juggling teaching and parenting responsibilities at the same time, and you may be grieving a life you miss and wondering if and when things will return to normal.”

While encouraging teachers to validate their feelings and concerns, she also notes that we are all “architects of our own thinking” and that it is possible to create new pathways of thought by choosing what types of thinking to prune and what to foster.

“Purposeful and repetitive actions to rewire your brain can take as little as ten minutes a day,” she says. Get started by watching the video above.

Schools & COVID-19: Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona Will Answer Your Questions

Do you have questions for the State Department of Education about distance learning, school reopening plans, or other issues related to COVID-19?

Join a live webinar this Wednesday, April 29 from 4-5:00 p.m. to watch State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and members of his staff answer your questions. Hosted by CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel, the webinar is open to members only and registration is limited.

>Register and submit your questions.

East Granby Teachers Come Together, Successfully Organize Community in Support of Contract

This is a stressful and scary time, which makes it all the more important to celebrate the bright spots—and Thursday night was one for East Granby teachers.

After a four-hour special Zoom town meeting, residents voted to uphold the East Granby Education Association contract 181-21.

“It was one of the high points of my 25 years teaching in this town,” says local president Kevin Iapichino-Dorr. “So many residents spoke up in support of teachers. It was the voice of East Granby saying that in this town, we’re really valued.” Read more