Governor Ned Lamont
Governor Lamont issued an executive order yesterday requiring schools districts to continue to employ school staff during the pandemic. The order also requires state grants, including ECS and payments for special education, to continue to be dispersed to boards of education.
“We appreciate and stand with everyone on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic—all our health care workers, first responders, essential employees, and others—including our teachers—fighting to bring health, well-being, and normalcy to our communities,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “Unprecedented actions are being taken in dealing with the fallout of the pandemic to keep us safe and our communities functioning. We must continue to do everything we can to reduce the heavy toll this public health emergency is having on the livelihoods of all Connecticut residents.”
Leake added, “The education community supports Governor Lamont’s critical actions in Executive Order 7R, which will, among other things, allow public school staff to continue working and receiving paychecks. The public, and especially parents understand the importance of our educators. This order will allow public school support staff to continue working with teachers creating engaging, welcoming learning environments for our children.”
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CEA is joining with our fellow members of the labor movement in calling on the governor and legislators to protect the health and safety of all working people, including workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We must do everything we can to reduce the heavy toll this public health emergency is inflicting on the livelihoods of our colleagues and neighbors who are facing layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours, and shutdowns.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has suspended utility disconnections for nonpayment and Governor Lamont has suspended certain requirements for furloughed workers so they can more easily obtain unemployment benefits—critical steps in making sure working people facing serious health and financial risks receive the assistance they need.
Now it’s time we urge the governor and legislature to do even more to help workers feeling the adverse economic impacts of the coronavirus.
This crisis has exposed the shortcomings of our worker protection and health care systems. We need to make sure working people do not bear the brunt of the impact.
Steps the state of Connecticut should take include: Read more
The news regarding the coronavirus is changing daily. Today’s announcement from the State Department of Education is that, effective immediately, all components of the educator evaluation and support plan are waived for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
“I encourage educators to continue collaborative dialogue around teaching and learning as we continue to serve our Connecticut students,” Dr. Shuana K. Tucker, the Department’s chief talent officer, wrote in a letter to superintendents. “Opportunities for professional learning and career development can and should continue to the greatest extent possible.”
With so much in flux, keeping up with the daily educational developments and changes can be difficult.
CEA is here to help you.
On Friday, March 27, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., CEA is hosting a webinar—Navigating COVID-19: Stronger Together—to share the latest developments that impact you and your students. Read more
In a press conference this afternoon Governor Ned Lamont announced that the earliest Connecticut schools will be allowed to re-open is April 20.
To support students who are out of school for an extended time, the governor said that the state is working to get laptops and internet access for more children.
The Partnership for Connecticut has pledged as many as 60,000 laptops to high school students in Alliance Districts, saying the laptops will be prioritized for students in the most need. The Partnership will work with the state Department of Education and school districts to get the computers in students’ hands as soon as possible. Laptops will belong to districts, which will retain ownership once students return to school.
The governor also said that the state is working with internet service providers to expand WiFi access to families who do not currently have internet access.
The U.S. Department of Education has waived standardized testing requirements for the current school year for students in elementary school through high school. The department says it will provide relief from federally mandated testing requirements to any state requesting a waiver due to the public health crisis.
“Eliminating standardized testing for the current year is the right decision for students,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “It will allow teachers to focus on end-of-year learning and students’ social and emotional well-being, instead of teaching to the test. Teachers will continue to keep their students safe, engaged, and learning throughout this crisis.”
The action comes just one day after Governor Lamont and Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona requested a waiver to suspend standardized assessments. Cardona said sitting students down to take assessments after an extended absence from school is not the best way to use their time. Read more
A bill President Trump signed into law yesterday is an important step in the right direction to provide relief during this difficult time, but the education community wants Congress to go further to provide families with immediate financial support and regulatory relief.
The bill signed yesterday makes it easier for students who typically receive school meals to get access to food and extends sick leave and family leave protections to government employees, including public school teachers.
The National Education Association is calling on members of Congress and the Trump administration to implement immediate financial support measures first, along with regulatory relief that students desperately need from the Department of Education. Among the top measures that NEA is advocating: Read more
State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona today told CEA leaders that his department is focusing on the big picture: ensuring safety for students and staff and keeping students engaged. He urged teachers to “give it your best effort to serve kids” and provide continuity of education with today’s reality.
In a conference call, the commissioner said his agency will be as flexible as possible when it comes to keeping students engaged, but he said, “Everyone has to be doing something.” Whatever teachers are doing to keep students engaged and learning, interaction between each educator and other individuals must be limited to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Read more