Teachers unions calling on state to establish rules of handling COVID-19 cases, outbreaks in schools

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Unions representing some 60,000 Connecticut teachers and educators are calling on the state to implement uniform policies for how to handle COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in schools.

Right now, schools have been left to make their own decisions as to how cases are handled.

These unions understand each district is unique, but they’re hoping the state can establish specific steps and protocols when someone tests positive.

RELATED: Pres. of New Haven Federation of Teachers says he wasn’t invited to help make plan to reopen schools for students with special needs

Here’s what they’re asking for: Guidelines that follow both CDC and state health department guidelines to ensure student and staff safety.

Some of the necessary, and in their words, “common-sense,” protocols and standards they’re pushing for are:

  • Masks are required of all students — regardless of grade level.
  • Students and staff must maintain 6 feet of distance at all times.
  • In-person learning can’t take place until there is proper training.
  • Parents/guardians and union leaders need to be notified if anyone tests positive.

RELATED: Hartford teachers voice lack of equipment needed for distance learning in Board of Ed. meeting

We spoke with the President of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) by Zoom to get his take on this.

“I know there is nothing 100% safe, but the bottom line is we can do everything possible, better than if we were doing it in many districts right now, to get this done right,” said CEA President Jeff Leak. “That’s what we want to do.”

These unions said that without these mandates, the state is putting staff, students and their families at risk.

Web Extra: Doctor from Yale School of Medicine answers common questions about COVID-19 & schools

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