HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state’s teachers unions are demanding the Governor do more to keep everyone safe in schools. The groups say the surge in infection rates is putting everyone at risk.
“We have the names right here,” said Mary Yordon, Amer. Fed. of Teachers, as she handed over a 14,000 signature petition to a top advisor of the Governor.
Jeff Leake, President of the Connecticut Education Assocation said, “We don’t want to lose a child, an educator in Connecticut.”
The President of the state’s largest teacher union says COVID-19 cases are rampant. Leake says inconsistent rules across districts mean risk is high. Adding Superintendents are under pressure.
“Students are not wearing masks, administrators are not ready to send them home. If they’re not there doing what they need to do then for crying out loud enforce the standard,” said Leake,
Education workers have held rallies demanding social distance rules be enforced and statewide school virus testing be mandated.
Carl Chisem the President of the CEUI & SEIU unions, which cover workers like custodial staff points to outside vendors being brought in because demands for cleaning are high.
“Most custodians are in danger of increased risk of burning out over increased work loads and over time,” he said.
Governor Lamont has consistently said his administration is doing everything to keep classrooms open safely. Even launching a dashboard for parents to see where cases are and dispatching health department rapid response teams.
Governor Ned Lamont said, “if there are a few (schools) who aren’t taking it seriously as they should. They are now. Teachers we have 8 to 10 days left in the school year…we are doing everything to keep you safe.”
Lamont says Superintendents and school boards are best at enforcing local policies.
Mary Yordon, of the American Federation of Teachers says unions disagree.
She said, “it should not be a local decision.”
In a statement the State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona tells News 8: “The health and safety of our students, educators and staff is and has always been our primary consideration …. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure as many children as possible have access to opportunities for in-person learning.”
One of the dozen demands of the Governor made by the unions is no layoffs through the school year.