This urgent and comprehensive bill proposal needs quick action to establish better health safety protocols for schools, students, and staff:
Testify on all or parts of the proposal. Here’s how:
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Click on any topic below to focus on one aspect within the proposal and click the testify button for a template on your topic of choice.
IMPORTANT: If you would like to submit testimony on more than one or all of the topics, you can do so in one written document using any of the “Submit Testimony” buttons.
- COVID-19 Case Notification: Local boards of education and municipal employers must make public, within 24 hours, COVID-19 incidents by school or building (including positive cases and the number of those exposed and quarantining) and immediately forward the information for inclusion in the state’s COVID-19 school dashboard. The state website should have a continuing tally of COVID-19 cases by school or building, and the number of individuals—delineated by staff and students—who need to quarantine.
- Increase Reporting on State Dashboard: The state dashboard should include a list of schools and public buildings that are closed due to COVID-19 and for how long.
- COVID-19 Notice to Employees: Provide notice within 24 hours to all employees, their exclusive association representatives (if any), and employers of subcontracted employees who were on the premises who were potentially exposed to COVID-19.
- Teacher, Staff, and Municipal Employee Input for Contact Tracing: Ensure that teachers and bargaining unit representatives who are selected by their association are included on local committees or entities that decide who requires contact tracing and/or quarantining in the aftermath of a positive COVID-19 case.
- Establish Consistent Statewide Protocols for: 1) reporting and public notification of positive COVID-19 cases; 2) contact tracing and quarantines; 3) social distancing; 4) COVID-19 testing; and 5) PPE availability.
- Require that social distancing standards are strictly followed, not compromised, and not required only “where possible.”
- If a test-positive person is identified as having spent a day in a particular classroom, the entire class must be quarantined, not just those closest to the person.
- There must be a single statewide length of a quarantine.
- Contact tracing must include classroom staff when a classroom is impacted.
- No educators, school staff, or municipal employees who must quarantine would be required to use sick leave (which they may need if they get sick), but rather would receive quarantine leave or be allowed to teach their students or otherwise work remotely.
- Schools, with state assistance, must provide regular COVID-19 testing of students and staff to check for both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
- Red Zone Districts Must Reduce Density or Go Remote: Towns in red zones must, at a minimum, reduce density and be in “hybrid” mode or go to full remote education, unless the statewide standards in this document are implemented and schools are fully staffed.
- Cleaning Plan and Statewide Protocols: The State Department of Public Health must create a cleaning plan for use in all school buildings and municipal office, with a checklist for specific tasks.
- Require cleaning logs to be maintained and posted: Logs are required to be kept by restaurants and other entities, and should also be required in schools and municipal buildings.
- Fix Inadequate Ventilation Systems: HVAC systems must be duly inspected and upgraded where necessary to minimize the spread of a virus.
- Provide Adequate Planning Time: Institute mandatory planning time—an additional hour of planning time per day or one day per week for planning only.
- Phase Out Dual Teaching Setting: Teachers should either teach remotely or in-person, but not both at the same time. Until dual settings are phased out, provide 1.5 hours of planning time per day to help manage dual teaching settings.
- Continue Payment and Prohibition of Layoffs: Continue the Governor’s Order to protect the continued employment of all public employees who are directly employed by the local or regional board of educations, including but not limited to teachers, paraprofessionals and other support staff, cafeteria, clerical, transportation, and custodial staff.
- Institute or Seek a Moratorium on Annual Standardized Testing: Statewide standardized testing should be suspended for the 2020-2021 school year (note: this may require SDE to apply for a waiver to USDoE).