HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - The Connecticut Education Association released its plan for reopening schools in the fall.

Its teachers called for delayed openings, staggered schedules, distance learning and guaranteed funding to ensure healthy and safe schools.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a chief concern.

"The health and safety of our students, our educators, and our communities cannot be sacrificed in order to get students back into the classroom," the CEA said in a news release. "The state’s plan, which calls for a full-time return to school, raises serious questions about maintaining the safety of everyone in our school communities during a pandemic that is not fully under control."

RELATED: State releases complete breakdown of back-to-school plan

RELATED: Connecticut's complete back to school plan

The CEA's plan wants six actions to be taken before schools reopen. It described the steps as a combination of health and safety safety standards along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.

  1. Delaying the opening of school if CDC and public health and safety requirements for schools cannot be met.
  2. Guaranteeing that the state will provide districts with funding for all COVID-19 expenses so that school districts can meet the CDC and public health and safety requirements.
  3. Recognizing and addressing the risks for students, teachers, and staff in school during a pandemic.
  4. Understanding that moving the economy forward depends on the safety of schools, not just reopening schools.
  5. Allowing districts to begin the school year through distance or remote learning where necessary; for any in-class learning, districts must reduce density through staggered schedules to meet CDC and public health and safety requirements for schools.
  6. Requiring weekly testing for all students, teachers, and staff, who return to school, and instituting contact tracing protocols.

Read the entire CEA plan here.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our students, our educators, and our families safe,” said Jeff Leake, CEA President. “We owe our students and educators the measures of safety and security they deserve. We must not fail to provide the necessary protections and risk new increases in COVID-19 infection rates, especially in light of new evidence showing that most school children can spread the virus the same as adults.”

Leake said no one wants to return to school more than teachers.

"But during a global pandemic the health and safety of our students and educators must be our first priority," he said.

The CEA said its teachers know how easily the virus can spread in classrooms with poor ventilation, windows that don’t open, and a lack of funding to ensure proper disinfecting and sanitizing stations. It said schools, especially those in high-poverty districts, will need more funding, not less, as students return with increased needs due to learning loss, trauma from the pandemic, and time away from school.

"We can’t allow students living in high-poverty districts, students with special needs, and English learners to fall further behind," Leake said. "Without funding, that’s exactly what will happen. In order to fully recover from 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.”

Teachers reacting say they are concerned about the safety of students and teachers when it comes to returning to the classroom.

"Interactions are very important. When we do this, how many interactions is everyone going to have when everyone is facing the same direction and you can’t do much group work like we’re used to doing. Teaching has changed," said Mark Janick, a statistics teacher at Suffield High School.

He's also a parent, and said he's worried about schools being able to maintain social distancing.

"Everywhere I go, you’re 6 feet distance, you’re wearing masks, and I don’t want a classroom to be different than that," Janick said.

He adds that classrooms are not meant to hold students 6 feet apart.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(3) comments

mike6972

The schools are shut down… and yet our school taxes stay the same or go up. Anyone else see what’s wrong with this? Schools typically account for 60-70% of local property taxes, which are the highest in the nation. This does not include billions in State and Federal aid. The public schools are fantastically expensive. The value they deliver isn’t what it used to be. Whole generations are graduating from the public schools without basic knowledge and basic skills. Many require remedial training in language and mathematics before they are able to attempt college work. Standards are continually dumbed-down. Indoctrination into “woke” ideology has now become a primary goal of the public schools. Behavior has declined precipitously, especially in urban schools. It has become almost impossible to discipline or expel poorly behaved students, especially if they are members of privileged, allegedly-oppressed, demographic groups. In many cases, gang activity and organized bullying make attending school a terrifying experience. Drugs are rampant in schools. Parents sacrifice to live in towns with decent (i.e. safe) schools. The “woke” Left works tirelessly to export the bad behavior, low standards, and safety problems of urban schools into the suburbs.

Given all of this, why not see the shut-down of the public schools as a blessing? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape a failed system. It’s still legal to home-school your kids. Private schools are still legal. You don’t have to surrender your kids to the State. You still have choices. A mass exodus from the public schools at this time might actually have a positive effect. Your kids will be safer, and they will learn more. Faced with a precipitous decline in enrollment, the public schools might actually have to improve! Instead of being driven by the teachers’ union and powerful education bureaucrats, the needs and concerns of parents and children might actually mean something again.

If the school shutdowns continue for months (or even years), life will go on. People will adapt. We will learn that we don’t need this fantastically bloated and privileged institution. Or, the shutdowns will prompt meaningful change and improvement. A win-win either way!

CTYankee

The towns will simply re-direct the funds as they are already planning to do to law enforcement. You are not going to get your money back from government.

Home schooling assumes both parents or one parent households do not have to go to work. It is an awesome education when it can be done. My friends home school and they are bringing up smart, polite and educated kids.

CTYankee

Of course CEA wants to keep the schools closed. Less work for more money - the occasional good teacher. I hope they know the damage they are doing to these poor kids that are being held hostage by a corrupt union.

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