On Thursday about 100 teachers filed in to the parking lot across from the Boys & Girls Club to form a car caravan and drive a massive loop around town. The idea was for teachers to express their concerns about the safety of public school reopening this fall, which is just weeks away.
The caravan in Greenwich was just one of several, and included teachers from several school districts.
According to GEA president Carol Sutton 71 people registered to attend, but dozens of others joined in.
“The main objective is to raise awareness about the difficulties municipalities are facing because of inconsistent messages from the state,” Sutton said.
“The way we teach in person in a safe classroom is not the way we teach any more. The idea that kids will sit at a desk all day is not the way we work any more, and it’s not the way our culture operates. It’s not optimum conditions for teaching and learning.”GEA president Carol Sutton
Sutton, who is a parent herself continued, “When we think about what teaching and learning will look like in a safe environment – that is heartbreaking. I understand everybody needs to be together. But at a time when we should be feeling more energized and confident, the news from the outside is doing just the opposite.”
Setting out from Horseneck lot at 2:00pm, the Greenwich caravan traveled through Governor Lamont’s hometown.
“We know that the best learning happens in person, and educators want nothing more than to return to the classroom. But that can’t happen without consistent safety protocols in every Connecticut school,” Sutton said.
Joselyn Delancy, president of Darien Education Association, said, “The Governor has basically told the 170 districts in the state to figure it out for themselves. If the state can’t guarantee funding for testing and safety protocols, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Sutton said she hoped the caravan would send a message to the state.
“This was not about what our (school) administration is trying to do. It’s not about being upset with Toni Jones or the Board of Education.”
“It’s apolitical” she added. “We’re here with people from all over the area.”
The State Dept of Education gave districts a waiver of three instructional days to instead use for staff development, so the first day of school for all Greenwich students will be September 9, which is unique in that it falls after Labor Day. September 8 will be an orientation day.
In addition to Greenwich, town where there were teacher caravans included Hartford, Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, East Hartford, East Lyme, Haddam, Hamden, Ledyard, Naugatuck, New Haven, Norwalk, Norwich, Putnam, Seymour, Simsbury, Stamford, Stonington, Stratford,Vernon, Willimantic, Wolcott and Woodbridge.