In a press conference this afternoon, Governor Ned Lamont announced that COVID vaccines will now be mandatory for all Connecticut K-12 and early childhood teachers and staff. The mandate takes effect September 27. Exemptions will be allowed for certain documented medical reasons (such as an allergy to the vaccine) as well as sincerely held religious beliefs.
In what he described as his “back-to-school edition” of coronavirus briefings for the state, the governor acknowledged that while we hoped we were in the last inning of the pandemic in May, the delta variant “has thrown us a curve.”
“We appreciate the governor’s effort to ensure the safety of all by having as many vaccinated people in our schools as possible,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “In traveling to school districts and listening to local teachers, we’ve heard concerns from many who favor a vaccine mandate, and others who want the ability for monitored exceptions. Governor Lamont’s order—which says that anyone choosing not to get vaccinated must be tested each week—is a reasonable accommodation and should result in greater safety and almost everyone being vaccinated.”
She added, “We want to ensure that the state assists school districts in providing the time and resources necessary to meet the vaccine mandate and testing requirements. That means a deadline that can be met by all districts, and the clinics and supplies necessary to get the job done. We cannot afford to risk staffing shortages that could cause shutdowns and disruption as the school year begins.”
“In-person classroom education—there’s no substitute for it,” the governor emphasized, reiterating that masking in school buildings and having fully vaccinated teachers and staff are critical to ensuring safe, healthy learning environments.
“That means, no offense, we’re not Mississippi—where 20,000 students are in quarantine the first week of school.”