Teachers are concerned about a plan to return to school in the fall that doesn’t include testing or screening of staff and students, limits on class sizes, or provisions to ensure social distancing. Since the plan was released yesterday, many CEA members have been speaking out and sharing their concerns with Connecticut media outlets.
“There are so many precautions that have to be put in place that all depend on funding,” says Bridgeport music teacher and 2019 Connecticut teacher of the year Sheena Graham. “If they’re not able to be met, then I don’t think we’re able to open up the buildings again.”
Graham and Marlborough kindergarten teacher Amy Farrior expressed their concerns to NBC Connecticut. Farrior said, “I tear up when I think about keeping kindergarteners away from each other, away from me.”
U.S. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes shared many of her former colleagues’ concerns in a Tweet last night to Governor Lamont.
@GovNedLamont Am I missing something?
I haven’t been out the classroom too long to know this is not realistic & doesn’t instill any confidence. I hope a more substantive plan is forthcoming b/c I have so many questions and this doesn’t provide adequate ans for parents or teachers https://t.co/14Ep1t3Dw0
— Jahana Hayes (@RepJahanaHayes) June 25, 2020
In an interview with NBC Connecticut today she said she wants to make sure the state is framing school reopening not only through the lens of an employer. She said she is hearing from teachers, “‘How will we socially distance when we already are in confined spaces?’ We have poor air quality in some of these older buildings.”
Hayes continued, “I’ve heard the desperation in the voices of so many teachers from around the state. I mean, my own daughter, who is a teacher, called me and said, ‘Ma, how are we going to do this?’ I want teachers to feel confident and supported as they transition back into the classroom.”
CREC kindergarten teacher Lisa Cordova is the primary caregiver for her 79-year-old mother and worries about the possibility of being infected at school and spreading the virus to her mom. She told the CT Mirror, “We’re going back so quickly because of the economy, but is it what is safe?”
CEA Executive Director Don Williams also spoke to the CT Mirror. “Certainly the idea of running school buses at capacity and having 25 students or more in a classroom raises significant concerns.”
“As a person who has spent more than 40 years in front of the classroom, I’d say 100% of the students 100% of the time isn’t a workable solution,” CEA President Jeff Leake told WTIC News Talk Radio this morning. “Putting 60 or 70 kids on a bus and hoping they’re going to be wearing their masks the whole time just isn’t safe.”
“I’m ready to go back and work with students, I just hope we have a more detailed and clear plan to do that,” Hamden teacher Michael Rocco said to NBC Connecticut.
“We have to have a more robust distance learning plan in our back pocket,” Williams told Channel 3 Eyewitness News. “All we have to do is look at what’s happening in other states.”