Conn. (WTNH) — While the state is revising COVID policies for schools, educators are demanding stronger steps be taken.

Teachers are saying the first day back from break was not exactly smooth sailing. In fact, it was stressful.

When you combine the spike in COVID cases, staffing shortages and a lack of tests, they say it is dangerous right now.

The Board of Education Union Coalition held a news conference via Zoom Monday to discuss nine demands as they urge action for a safe return to the classroom.

They are as follows:

  • Adopt new, more aggressive testing protocols to closely monitor students and teachers before they enter our schools, to include temperature readings before entry and prohibition to anyone exhibiting symptoms
  • Provide cost-free access to COVID-19 testing at all schools, including weekly pool testing
  • Provide N95 masks and in-home test kits to all school districts for distribution to students and school staff
  • Require N95 masks be worn in school by all staff
  • Continue with other established mitigation efforts including social distancing, no large group gatherings, and improved ventilation
  • Prohibit the combining of classes due to staff shortages (if the combined class results in mixed cohort)
  • Prohibit the unsuccessful practice of dual teaching
  • Provide access to COVID-19 vaccinations at all schools
  • Ensure that staff do not have to use their sick time during quarantine periods

The state’s largest teacher’s union, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), said it is not just about teachers but the safety of students too.

“Really there’s this sense, ‘am I next?’ What’s going to happen next and it feels like the consequences of not wearing masks properly are more significant,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “So, I feel like everything feels intensified.”

They stressed in-person learning is best and they do not want to go back to remote learning, but they think these will ensure the safety of everyone.