This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: CT Extends Mask Mandate, Weighs Mandating Teacher Vaccination, and a Save the Date for Part 2 of ‘Assessment Bootcamp.’
Governor Lamont Extends Mask Mandate for Schools
In a press conference yesterday, Governor Lamont announced a long-awaited decision to continue the statewide mask mandate for K-12 students – at least for the first month of school. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, this makes Connecticut one of 10 states nationwide to require masks in schools, alongside California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.
In contrast, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order on Monday allowing parents to opt out of mask mandates in school districts. Eight other states—Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah—have banned mask mandates entirely, barring school districts from imposing them, even as the Delta variant spreads.
CT Weighs COVID Vaccine Mandates
In national news, Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that California would become the first state to require all staff in both private and public schools to be vaccinated, or undergo weekly COVID testing. Here in Connecticut, state leaders are now considering whether to follow in the footsteps of the Golden State.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff has called for all state and municipal employees, including teachers, to be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. "Who would think that we would even have to go down this road?” the Senator asked. “People who have done the right things and have been vaccinated, they now have to put their freedoms on hold and now have to put their way of life on hold." On Monday, Senator Saud Anwar—himself a physician—joined the call for vaccination requirements, noting that we will otherwise likely keep seeing new variants of COVID-19 "because of the unvaccinated individuals."
At the college-level, Quinnipiac University's vaccine mandate extends to students, as well as faculty and staff. Moreover, the school announced yesterday that it will fine unvaccinated students, and revoke their access to the campus network and Wi-Fi.
Save the Date: Assessment Bootcamp
Don't miss Part 2 of a three-part webinar series on assessments, hosted by our national affiliate, Education Reform Now. Part 1 of the “Assessment Bootcamp” series established a common language about the types of assessment, their uses, and how to build balanced assessment systems. Part 2, scheduled for September 14th at 12pm, will look at innovations in statewide assessments and accountability.