Heatwave, COVID prompts CEA to renew push for upgrades to air quality in CT schools

New London

MONTVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) — The heatwave, on top of the pandemic, has prompted the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) to renew its push for upgrades to schools when it comes to air quality.

RELATED: Montville schools among many dismissing students early due to heatwave, COVID air safety concerns

“Let’s start on this problem that’s been causing kids to be ill. Teachers to be ill,” said CEA President Jeff Leake.

Montville High School students were among the many schools that were dismissed early in the past two days due to the heat.

“It’s super hot,” said Montville High School Freshman Savannah Vichas on Tuesday. “I mean, I was sweating so much.”

The CEA also wants classrooms to be air conditioned.

“Yes, please,” said Montville High School Junior Jimsly Joseph. “For my last year that would be really helpful.”

The CEA is calling on the state and state lawmakers to help school districts pay for upgrades to their HVAC systems by tapping into federal funds like the money expected to come from the American Rescue Plan.

“The bottom line right now is we think there is a unique opportunity with the $1-billion coming from the Biden Administration to say ‘can we dedicate at least some of this to beginning this process?’” said Leake.

They also say Senate Bill 288, An Act Concerning Indoor Air Quality in Schools, could be a good start to this effort although they say it doesn’t go far enough.

“There were temperature ranges to consider in gymnasiums, which is fine, but how about the classrooms, as well?” said Leake.

Wednesday is a remote learning day in Montville and many other school districts, so right now, they won’t have to worry about another early dismissal.

In fact, they hope they don’t have to worry about another one before the end of the year which comes at the end of next week.

Until then, masks will still have to be worn.

“The masks it adds a lot of heat to your face, too,” added Vichas.

There’s also a push from some around the state to remove masks from kids.

“So if we’re really spread out I wouldn’t mind taking mine off,” said Joseph who then specified one caveat. “That’s only if you’re fully vaccinated.”

“I just got my first dose of the vaccine on Sunday,” said Vichas.

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