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CEA, AFT-CT teacher unions hold dozens of car caravan protests calling for safety priorities for fall semester

The rallies were organized by the two unions to help "amplify the voices of educations and school support personnel" who have reopening concerns

HARTFORD, Conn — Over 20 cities have seen caravans of cars honking in an empt to raise awareness of educators wanting to hold off on re-opening schools until a better plan has been presented on the state and local district levels. 

Many educators FOX61 spoke to Thursday say they are updating their wills and increasing insurance policies because they feel uneasy going back into the classroom.  

In Hartford, over 400 cars filled with educators and concerned parents saying officials need to pump the breaks on reopening schools.  

“It wouldn’t make much sense in our opinion to reopen schools if they are not going to be safe and wind up contributing to the spread of COVID-19 and then we have to shut everything down again.,” said Joe Bernabucci who is the president of East Hartford’s education association. 

This past Tuesday the governor announced a 43-million dollar investment where the state is promising more Chromebooks, tech support, PPE to school, but with each district having their specialized plans many educators feel uneasy which is why many are out saying enough is enough and are demanding lawmakers provide a better plan that includes safety, equity, and more funding.  

Jeff Leake said, “The fact that some schools don’t have nurses, some schools don’t have custodial services to get the cleaning done and things like that, so we know many of our districts need more funding and we want to make sure it’s going to be there for them.” 

Leake is the president of the Connecticut Education Association and says this decision to put teens and children back in school affects parents just as much as teachers. 

FOX61 spoke with some parents who say they are indeed worried. 

One concerned parent said, “If they’re not making sure that our children are safe and the workers within those facilities are safe I can’t be safe as a parent in terms of my mental state.” 

Others like retired teacher Mary Harris said many of her colleagues would feel better if a vaccine was available, but now she says many feel like test subjects in a science experiment.  

Harris said, “Most of them feel like they don’t have a choice they could be fired and I don’t think anyone imagine if the schools are really affordable but supposed to provide a safe and environment. 

Some parents say lawmakers need to take the politics out of education.  

“Why can’t we put our people first, why can’t us put our children first and not money and not politics but think about us as human beings,” said one concerned parent. 

Each school district is looking at different options for re-opening. 

FOX61 reached out to Hartford public schools for comment, but have not heard back. 

Credit: FOX61

The Hartford action and several others live-streamed on CEA’s Facebook page at facebook.com/CTEdAssoc

In other communities, the caravans traveled through local neighborhoods.

Find the locations below:

  • Hartford - Parking lot at Asylum and Trout Brook in West Hartford 
  • Bethel - Bethel High School, 300 Whittlesey Drive 
  • Bridgeport - Bridgeport Central High School, 1 Lincoln Boulevard 
  • Brookfield - Brookfield High School, 45 Long Meadow Hill Road
  • Danbury - Danbury High School, 43 Clapboard Ridge Road 
  • East Hartford - East Hartford High School, 869 Forbes Street 
  • East Lyme - East Lyme High School, 30 Chesterfield Road 
  • Greenwich - Commuter Parking Lot at I-95 Exit 3, Horse Neck Lane 
  • Haddam - Commuter Parking Lot at Route 9 Exit 8, Beaver Meadow Road 
  • Hamden - Hamden Middle School, 2623 Dixwell Avenue 
  • Ledyard - Ledyard High School, 24 Gallup Hill Road 
  • Naugatuck - Naugatuck High School, 543 Rubber Avenue
  • New Haven - Hill Career High School, 40 Legion Avenue 
  • Norwalk - Brien McMahon High School, 300 Highland Avenue (NOTE 3:00 p.m. start time) 
  • Norwich - Norwich Free Academy, Senior parking lot, Reynolds Road near Bradlaw Building 
  • Putnam - St. Marie Greenhalgh Sports Complex, 33 Wicker Street 
  • Seymour - Seymour High School, 2 Botsford Road 
  • Simsbury - Simsbury High School, 34 Farms Village Road 
  • Stamford - Scalzi Park, 100 Bridge Street 
  • Stonington - Stonington High School, 176 S Broad Street, Pawcatuck
  • Stratford - Bunnell High School, 1 Bulldog Boulevard 
  • Vernon - Rockville High School, 70 Loveland Hill Road 
  • Willimantic - Jillson Square, 2 Jackson Street (NOTE 5:00 p.m. start time)
  • Wolcott - Wolcott High School, 457 Bound Line Road 
  • Woodbridge - Beecher Road School, 40 Beecher Road