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Posts tagged ‘Governor Lamont’

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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Teachers Respond to School Reopening Plan

Bridgeport music teacher Sheena Graham appeared on NBC Connecticut last night sharing her concerns about returning to school.

Teachers are concerned about a plan to return to school in the fall that doesn’t include testing or screening of staff and students, limits on class sizes, or provisions to ensure social distancing. Since the plan was released yesterday, many CEA members have been speaking out and sharing their concerns with Connecticut media outlets.

“There are so many precautions that have to be put in place that all depend on funding,” says Bridgeport music teacher and 2019 Connecticut teacher of the year Sheena Graham. “If they’re not able to be met, then I don’t think we’re able to open up the buildings again.”

Graham and Marlborough kindergarten teacher Amy Farrior expressed their concerns to NBC Connecticut. Farrior said, “I tear up when I think about keeping kindergarteners away from each other, away from me.”

U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes shared many of her former colleagues’ concerns in a Tweet last night to Governor Lamont. Read more

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

With Distance Learning Now Continuing Into June, Governor Discusses Plans for Safe Return to School

Keeping school buildings closed for the academic year “breaks my heart,” Governor Lamont said at a press conference this afternoon. However, despite the governor’s hope that students might be able to return to school for a few weeks, after hearing from superintendents, parents, and teachers, he concluded “this was no time to take that risk.”

“While this decision to cancel is not welcomed by students, parents, or educators, we know that we have to continue to look at this as a safety issue,” said Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona.

He continued, “For students listening, your school year has not ended, your teachers and district school leaders and staff are committed to supporting your learning through the remainder of the school year. While we know it’s not the same, on this Teacher Appreciation Day, I want to acknowledge all the educators who have given tirelessly to their students while tending to their own families and caring for their loved ones—thank you. We have a month left of classes. Let’s finish strong, Connecticut.” Read more

CEA Supports Decision to Keep Schools Closed

CEA applauds Governor Lamont for listening to public health experts in his decision to close schools for the remainder of this school year. Making the safety and health of students and staff the top priority will help save lives and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

“We understand the emotion and sadness regarding closing schools and missing certain milestones and celebrations, but at this time, everyone’s top priority must be to protect the health of students and staff, and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said CEA President Jeff Leake.

While there is no substitute for in-person teaching, educators will continue to provide distance learning and do all they can to keep students engaged and learning during the next several weeks, as they have been doing since mid-March. Read more

Connecticut Schools Closed Through May 20

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is extending in-school class cancellations until May 20. “That’s the earliest we’d reconsider opening anything,” the governor said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the May 20th date gets extended as well.”

“We appreciate Governor Lamont’s response to the state’s ongoing public health emergency. The first priority must always be to protect the health and safety of our students, teachers, and communities,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “We support the governor and the medical professionals who say keeping schools closed will help lessen the strain on our hospitals, and preserve more lives. That requires all of us to follow safety procedures, make sacrifices, and obey social distancing guidelines. Keeping schools closed until at least May 20, is just one of many actions required to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”

“This decision has not been made lightly,” said Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona. “It was made following consultation with public health experts and education stakeholders to protect the lives of our students, dedicated staff, and healthcare workers. We will not resume any school activity unless it is determined it is safe for everyone involved. Until that time, distance learning should continue.” Read more

Lamont: School Staff Should Continue to Work and Be Paid

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.”

Read more for the CT Post.


Governor Lamont: Schools Could Be Closed Until Fall

In a radio interview today Governor Lamont said that he thinks it is likely that school closures will extend through the end of the school year.

“I really think that’s a likelihood,” said Lamont, who has officially closed schools until April 20. “You worry if people get back too quickly, there will be a second iteration of this virus. So April 20 is the minimum—it’s probably the school year.”

“The Governor is looking at this public health crisis as potentially lasting a longer period of time than initially thought, which he has said publicly before and is consistent with federal CDC suggestions of class cancellations for up to 6-8 weeks,” spokesman Max Reiss said. “Governor Lamont is telling school systems they must be prepared for a potentially unprecedented break from classes being held at schools as a result of the coronavirus to ensure students, teachers, staff and parents are safe. The goal is to have frank discussions with superintendents and the education community as this situation unfolds.”

“First and foremost our priority is the safety of our students, our teachers, and our communities and ensuring students continue learning in the midst of this public health emergency,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “We strongly agree with Governor Lamont’s decision to keep schools closed until April 20 and possibly until the end of the school year. The common belief is that things will get worse before they get better and keeping schools closed until the fall may be necessary to keep everyone safe and prevent the disease from spreading. In the meantime, our dedicated, professional educators are doing all they can to keep their students engaged and learning in today’s reality.” Read more

Governor Pledges Support for Students, Families, and Teachers in New Budget, Legislative Session

During his State of the State address today Governor Ned Lamont made a series of pledges aimed at increasing support for Connecticut’s students, families, and teachers and continuing to build on the strides the state has made over the last year.

“Our budget provided predictability to those counting on it most,” he said, adding, “I have heard from school principals, city and town leaders, small businesses and families, all saying, ‘Finally, we can now plan for our future.’” The budget, he noted, made Connecticut’s largest-ever investment in K-12 education, reducing some of the burden on cities and towns and providing teachers with more of the resources they need. Read more

Connecticut Receives $100 Million Donation to Serve Disengaged Youth

Surrounded by hundreds of East Hartford High School students, Governor Lamont today announced that Dalio Philanthropies has committed $100 million to strengthening public education and promoting greater economic opportunity in Connecticut that will, over five years, be matched by $100 million from the state and $100 million from other philanthropists and business leaders.

Governor Lamont addressed the hundreds of high school students and many visitors assembled at East Hartford High School this morning to hear his announcement.

“If you believe in the future of Connecticut, you invest in the future of Connecticut, and we invest in each and every one of you,” Governor Lamont told the high school students. “You’ve got an amazing building, you’ve got a great principal, you’ve got some of the greatest teachers in the world right here at East Hartford High. Let’s give a hand for the teachers. They work their hearts out every day.”

“I’ve been lucky in my life to be able to live the American Dream,” said Ray Dalio, who came from a middle-class background to found of one of the world’s largest hedge funds. “And what it means most fundamentally is equal opportunity, and most fundamentally equal opportunity in education. When you think, what is the best investment you can make, it has to be in the children’s education and the teachers.”

The partnership between the state and Dalio Philanthropies aims to benefit residents of Connecticut’s under-resourced communities, with a specific focus on communities where there is both a high poverty rate and a high concentration of youth (14-24) who are showing signs of disengagement or disconnection from high school. It will work with local stakeholders to ensure that community voice and input shape programming design and help advance positive outcomes as quickly and sustainably as possible. Read more