HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — With an increasing positivity rate of COVID-19 cases, educational leaders are now pushing Governor Ned Lamont to create a statewide standard for how schools should handle COVID-19 cases and quarantining.
On Tuesday, the Board of Education Union Coalition sent the governor a letter asking for one set of rules for all districts in the state.
The group said it feels some districts can’t be trusted to do what is right for their education communities.
“By allowing educators and staff to quarantine when they need to, by protecting those staff who have medical conditions and following the advice of the governor and our education commissioner in terms of allowing teachers to teach remotely into the classroom, that works out best for students, their education and most importantly, the safety in our schools,” explained Donald Williams, Executive Director of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA).
“This reckless advice ignores the guidance from public health experts and puts the entire state in jeopardy,” added CEA President Jeff Leake in a statement. “The governor must move quickly to reject these negligent practices by mandating that school districts take a responsible and not punitive approach to handling quarantines and leaves that do not put public health at risk. Right now, too many educators and staff are being forced to choose between their jobs and their health and are being given the unacceptable option of either teaching in person or taking unpaid leave.
So far, this school year, Lamont has left it up to each district to set its own COVID rules.
“We want a consistent standard for safety and how teachers and staff are treated when they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus,” Williams said. “That used to be federally mandated by legislation that expired on Dec. 31 and now we are seeing inconsistency across the state, and we’re asking the governor to step in and give us uniformed standard.”
The group said some of the suggestions involved mandatory quarantines and giving those with medical issues access to teach remotely.