Governor Lamont declared civil preparedness and public health emergencies in Connecticut yesterday afternoon, in order for the state to take specific actions in response to the coronavirus. The declarations allow the governor to take broader measures to protect public health.
There are currently school closures in six Connecticut towns. Wilcoxson Elementary School in Stratford, Nathan Hale School in New Haven, as well as Woodbury and Bethlehem public schools (Region 14) will close for the remainder of the week, and Westport and Wilton Public Schools will remain closed until further notice. Those schools will be closed for deep cleaning, and Region 14 noted that missed school days will be made up in June.
CEA has been working closely with the State Department of Education and other education stakeholders on protocols for other possible school closures in response to coronavirus. CEA agrees that it is better to be overprepared than underprepared and the Association is taking numerous steps to help prevent the spread of the virus and to keep students, teachers, and communities safe, including
- Cancelling all in-state CEA-sponsored events, workshops, and forums for the month of March and potentially beyond
- Cancelling all out-of-state travel for CEA staff
- Cancelling all CEA Professional Development programs
- Cutting back on face-to-face meetings and utilizing email, conference calls, video conferences, webinars, and other online platforms that can take the place of in-person meetings
- Urging local leaders to work directly with their school administrators regarding options should schools be closed
- Sharing coronavirus updates and guidelines for schools on cea.org
CEA has cancelled all in-state CEA-sponsored events for the month of March.
These events include the CEA Early Career Educators Conference, Permission to Feel book talks with Marc Brackett, and other CEA forums, conferences, and workshops that bring together large numbers of members from across the state. This is not an all-inclusive or final list, and events will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
While we hope that the coronavirus turns out to have a mild effect overall, we must all be prepared for the potential of a serious outbreak that could shut down more schools, as well as CEA offices. We ask that you watch for further notices from CEA and keep up-to-date by visiting cea.org, which has the links to the Connecticut Department of Public Health and guidelines for schools.
Given how quickly the situation is changing throughout the country, we expect to have further updates and guidance to share. We will get through this challenging time by working together.