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Posts tagged ‘COVID-19’

Governor Listens to Teachers’ Concerns During Roundtable Discussion; Announces Additional Flexibility for Reopening

Governor Lamont entered a room at Manchester High School where dedicated educators from around the state had gathered so that he could hear firsthand their challenges and concerns regarding the state’s reopening plan. A few hours later, during his afternoon briefing, the governor announced additional flexibility for districts to implement hybrid reopening plans.

CEA and AFT Connecticut organized yesterday’s meeting between the governor and teachers and were pleased that the governor heard and acted on teachers’ concerns regarding the need for safety, equity, funding, and flexibility when schools reopen.

CEA and AFT-Connecticut local leaders shared their concerns with Governor Lamont about school reopening plans yesterday.

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Teachers Take Their Message to the Streets in Safety First Car Caravan Rallies Across the State

From Stamford to Stonington, Hamden to Hartford, and two dozen towns in between, teachers, students, parents, and community members joined School Safety First Car Caravans...

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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.

State Board of Ed Waives Three School Days, Discusses Reopening Plan

photo-of-empty-class-room-2675061The 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

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

NEA Webinar: Safely Returning to In-Person Instruction

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.  


New Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate Would Help Schools Reopen Safely

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