EDITORIAL: Listen to what teachers are saying

We were all taught to listen to teachers, at least while we’re in the classroom. But these days it’s a good idea to listen to them outside of the classroom as well. The recent surge of COVID-19 cases via the highly contagious omicron variant has put a strain on the effort to keep in-person learning as schools reopened after the holidays, and teachers are on the front line. 

They know first-hand what the challenges are. Last week, about a dozen educators and other school staff held signs outside Wallingford’s Moran Middle School as part of a statewide effort to highlight the need for more testing and protective equipment. Some wore black, and held signs that said: “Keep COVID out and students in.” They were participating in the Board of Education Union Coalition’s #Blackout4SafeSchools campaign.

As the Record-Journal’s Michael Gagne noted, the demonstrations came on a day in which Connecticut’s COVID-19 positivity rate was 21.24%. 

“We’re here to make sure that our schools stay open, but with all of the tools that we need to be successful,” said Joslyn Delancey, vice president of the Connecticut Education Association, one of the state’s two statewide teachers unions. Those tools include testing and masks.

The demonstration in Wallingford was a show of solidarity. Delancey highlighted Wallingford’s as a collaborative relationship in which teachers are supported and listened to. “We need more districts to follow that direction,” she said. “We need more districts to be communicative and collaborative.”

Also sought are options when it comes to  remote learning. The demonstrations followed the release of a statewide poll that found educators worried about the spike in cases and in support of the ability for local districts to have the flexibility to move to remote learning “for short periods of time without requiring it to be made up.” The report said schools are not as safe as they should be.

“We thought we were heading back with N95 masks and availability of test kits, but that hasn’t been the case, and as our survey shows, many educators and staff members are still waiting for the supplies today,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “We need to be doing more, and we need to be doing better.”

While it’s good to hear that local school districts are doing comparatively well, it’s important to listen to what teachers are saying and to do everything possible to give them what they need. Maintaining a safe environment for learning remains a top priority as the coronavirus pandemic nears the end of its second year.






More From This Section