The top concerns of teachers regarding any return to school are the health and well-being of their students, ensuring they have access to computers and online resources, and keeping them safe when schools reopen.
Teachers say specific actions must be taken before schools reopen, including
- Establishing statewide protocols and protections for all schools.
- The protections should include disinfecting schools, devices, and desks, guidelines for wearing masks and social distancing, smaller class sizes, extra precautions for those at greater risk, measures for handling students who develop fevers or become ill, actions for handling a case of COVID-19 at a school, and guidelines for closing schools should there be another outbreak of coronavirus.
Those are some the findings of a new CEA survey of nearly 3,000 teachers taken in late May regarding the current health crisis in Connecticut.
“Teachers have stepped up to the enormous challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis and instantly went from in-person lessons to teaching students online,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “Teachers want the best for their students, and while we don’t yet know the specifics of when or how schools will reopen in the fall, we all agree our top priority must be the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff—especially those at higher risk.”
According to the survey, 43% of teachers are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and the number increases to 71% for teachers with 30 or more years in the classroom. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say their schools are not equipped to provide for frequent and sufficient hand washing for students and staff to reduce the spread of the virus.
“Moving forward, schools are going to look a lot different,” said Leake. “Safeguards must be in place to protect students and staff against a virus that has no vaccine and is not well-understood. We also must address learning loss and trauma suffered by students.”
Read the full CEA press release about the survey.
Read survey results.
Read and watch coverage:
Every night on the 11 p.m. news this week WFSB Channel 3 is putting a spotlight on what’s going on in our public schools. The stories feature the results of a survey of CEA and AFT Connecticut members.
In the first spot, which aired last night, teachers share the positive and negative effects of technology in their classrooms. The majority of teachers surveyed said they find technology to be a double-edged sword.
Watch last night’s story about technology in the classroom.
Manchester Education Association President Kate Dias, a math teacher at Manchester High School, told Channel 3 about the effects of constant cell phone use on adolescents.
“There is no question if something goes on, it can throw a kid off all day, and follows them via Instagram, and Snapchat and they are constantly messaging,” she said.
Kindergarten teacher and CREC Education Association President Lisa Cordova told Channel 3 that there are interactive iPad apps she finds useful for helping her students learn but added, “I think there is a fine line between using just enough technology and too much. It’s not a babysitter for the classroom. They need to be engaged, they need to be problem solving and not just looking at a screen.”
Channel 3 hosted a panel discussion with teachers from across the state Thursday evening. (2nd row) Sheena Graham, Bridgeport; David Simon, West Hartford; CEA Secretary Stephanie Wanzer, CES; Mike Wight, Newtown; (1st row) Leigh Neumon, Cromwell; Michael McCotter, Torrington; and Kristen Record, Stratford.
Last week WFSB Channel 3 took an in-depth look at many issues facing public schools, speaking with teachers to hear firsthand how these issues affect them and their students. Watch the segments, which aired during the 5:30 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts and focus on everything from classroom safety to students’ mental health to how much teachers spend out of pocket on classroom supplies.
To inform their reporting, Channel 3 partnered with CEA and AFT Connecticut to poll teachers around Connecticut on these issues. Read the survey results here.