Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) is addressing the severity of the current COVID situation in the state and determining what a safe return to the classroom will look like ahead of the new year.

CEA President Kate Dias emailed a letter to CEA members Thursday, addressing concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases in Connecticut. The state’s daily positivity rate rose over 20% Thursday.

“We all agree that in-person learning is best for our students, and while we all want to be back in the classroom on Jan. 4, we need to ensure our schools remain safe. Right now, we are facing a perfect storm of double-digit infection rates, rises in pediatric cases, backlogs at testing facilities, and shortages of testing kits,” Dias said in the letter. “We can’t risk the health and safety of our students, staff, and communities by returning to school under these conditions without consistent protocols and safety standards in place for testing and monitoring.”

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Dias said local union presidents completed a survey regarding district protocols and it appears most prefer a remote option with no dual instruction.

“So far, the state has been reluctant to allow remote options, but with a surge in the positivity rate, an increase in the number of children contracting the virus, inadequate supplies of N95 masks and at-home COVID tests, and the lack of consistent protocols regarding at-home testing, we will continue to stress the need for stronger actions to protect our school communities,” Dias said.

With New Year’s celebrations approaching and further positivity rate increases expected, Dias said safety has to remain their top priority.