Connecticut Teachers Union Pushes For Delaying Start To School Year

Masks and backpack

HARTFORD, Conn. (WCBS 880) — The largest teachers union in Connecticut is calling for a two-week delay in the start of in-person classes this fall.

The recommendation by the Connecticut Education Association comes after Massachusets and Rhode Island decided to push back the start of the school  year.

The union said a two-week postponement would give districts more time to prepare for remote learning.

"We feel that we can bring back most if not all of our teaching workforce in Connecticut if we take some time to do this right," CEA President Jeff Leake also told NBC Connecticut.

Leake also expressed concerns about enforcing mask wearing for a long period of time during the hot weather in August.

"There are communities where they don't have windows in their classroom for example, there are other communities where they have a window but they can't open it," Leake said.

The union wants districts with a high infection rate to start all remote. It is also asking at-risk teachers be allowed to do lessons remotely, even if students are in class.

The governor's office is concerned after finding that about a quarter of the students in the state did not log on for remote learning in the spring, and are hoping live streaming classes could make a difference. 

Earlier this month, the state announced it is committing $160 million to help school districts reopen safely.

“These grants are an essential component to providing the best possible educational opportunities during this uncertain time,” Lamont said. “Through this program, we are going to be able to offer devices, platforms, and internet connectivity to help with distance learning in lower income areas for students just beginning their education through college and graduate school, increase access to higher education by expanding scholarship opportunities, and help those seeking vocational training to launch a new career. This global pandemic has changed the education paradigm and we are fortunate we have this funding to help our state and schools adapt.”

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