From Connecticut Education Association:
Based on critical new medical reports and scientific findings regarding the spread of COVID-19, particularly as to school-age children, the Connecticut Education Association has revised its Safe Learning Plan to protect Connecticut’s students, teachers, staff and their families in the 2020-2021 school year.
CEA’s recommendations include:
— Delaying the opening of the school year for two weeks or until mid-September to improve and expand remote learning
— Changing state policy and recommending all-remote learning for all districts that have a moderate or high infection rate, or an inability to maintain six feet of social distancing or other safety considerations
— Paying strict attention to equity in all decisions regarding the impact of COVID-19 on students, teachers, administrators, staff, and their families
— Protecting and providing accommodations for at-risk students, teachers, and staff
— Increasing funding to districts for COVID-related expenses
— Implementing a comprehensive, school-centered contact tracing program to help mitigate any exposures to the virus, and for any in-class learning, providing COVID-19 testing for all students and adults as soon as practicable, with results in 24 hours or less
— Upgrading school air handling (HVAC) systems to improve air quality and protect health
“The primary consideration to any school reopening plan must be the safety, health, and wellbeing of students, teachers, and their families,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “The state must revise school reopening plans to protect our school communities, especially in light of new reports confirming that children can readily transmit COVID-19 and may be drivers of the pandemic. Remote learning is still the safest option. Any return to the classroom requires additional precautions, including strict social distancing and access to COVID-19 testing, that are not currently included in the state plan.”
Right now, Connecticut is among only a handful of states with low COVID-19 transmission rates, but the risk is still rated as “moderate” in the majority of Connecticut’s counties. Other states, including neighboring Rhode Island, are experiencing severe outbreaks, and officials fear a possible resurgence in Connecticut.
“Now is the time to adopt CEA’s recommendations and provide clear, updated safety guidelines rooted in medical studies and scientific research,” said Leake. “Failure to strengthen these protections risks creating COVID-19 hotspots, as we see happening in other states. If we do not reopen schools the right way–which means the safe, equitable way–we will reverse the progress Connecticut has made. We must do better for Connecticut’s children, educators, and their families.”