CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) is urging all schools in the state to move to full remote learning through mid-January to lower the spread of COVID-19 following the holidays.

While many districts will be remote through the middle of the month, many are slated to return to the classroom on Monday — before the surge from the holiday break is over.

As of Saturday, the state’s COVID-19 positive rate was at 7.06%.

“With at least 162 Connecticut towns identified as coronavirus red zones, it’s time for all public school superintendents to follow the lead of their colleagues who have paused in-person learning until mid-January,” CEA officials said in a statement.

new CEA/AFT Connecticut survey of more than 4,000 educators shows that in the midst of a pandemic, schools are not the safest place for children or educators.

“We’re thinking it’s at least half that are doing remote right now,” said Jeff Leake, President of the Connecticut Education Association.

The CEA is thanking school districts for doing this but hoping they stay remote until after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day so there will be at least ten days in between any holiday travel and in person learning. 

“Clearly right now especially after the amount of travel and so forth that has taken place, and this enhanced virus that has started to make its way around the country, we just think it’s good to take a pause,” said Leake.

The CEA cites the rising number of positive COVID cases including among children and the concerns that raises.

Study: Kids more likely to be infected by a family member than in a classroom

News 8 asked if teachers are finding that they know students were traveling for the holiday but they’re sitting right in front of them in the classroom now.

“So they knew that after the Thanksgiving break,” answered Leake.

News 8 contacted the Governor’s office and the Department of Education headed by Commissioner Miguel Cardona who has been nominated as Secretary of Education by President-elect Biden. Up until the holidays the CEA had weekly conversations with the state. 

“They were usually on Mondays,” said Leake. “We hope they will continue in some form or another.”

The CEA continues to urge the state to mandate COVID 19 testing in school communities, including random testing of people who don’t have any symptoms at all.

“We are getting so much closer to what we hope will be some sort of normalcy as we approach the next school year,” said Leake. “Let’s try to get everybody there.”

The CEA agrees in person learning is most effective. It just wants to ensure it is done safely.