Schools are making teachers and students sick


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Connecticut’s schools are falling apart and having a negative impact on learning according to the Connecticut Education Association.

Schools across the state report that vomiting, headaches, asthma and respiratory illnesses caused by mold, rodent droppings and extreme temperatures are prevalent according to a new CEA survey on environmental problems in schools.

Here’s what some teachers are saying:

-Students are vomiting and complaining of headaches and feeling like they are going to pass out.

-It’s too hot, it’s like teaching in a pizza oven, and our students are overheating.

-Every morning, I find rodent feces in my pre-k classroom where students work and play.

-There are high levels of mold in my classroom and in the building, making students and teachers sick.

-Sometimes in the winter, it’s warmer outside

53% of teachers who responded to the survey reported problems that impact learning. In one district alone nearly 80 teachers complained about health related issues.

· 74% of teachers have experienced extreme hot and cold temperatures in their classrooms

· 48% reported damaged walls, ceiling tiles, carpeting, or vents in their classrooms · 39% have experienced mold and mildew problems

-39% have experienced mold and mildew problems

· 30% reported rodent dropping in their classrooms

· 29% had leaking roofs

· 7% experienced chemical spills or smells in their buildings

· Other conditions mentioned in the survey of more than 1,200 teachers include insect infestation, exposure to asbestos, fiberglass, and radon.

In 2018 at least two schools, Coleytown Middle in Stamford and Westover Magnet Elementary in Stamford, were closed due to high mold spore counts.

“We treat our dogs better than we treat our students,” according to CEA President Jeff Leake. He says “Kennels have maximum temperature limits, but there are no laws or public health codes in Connecticut regarding excessive heat in school buildings, and that must change.”

The CEA is calling on the state legislature to act in a timely and appropriate manner to address the problems.

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