CEA Media Release: Statement from the Colorado Education Association on Gov. Polis COVID-19 update

November 17, 2020

Statement from Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association (CEA), on Gov. Jared Polis COVID-19 update:

“We applaud Gov. Polis’ decision to call a special session of the legislature in order to provide COVID-19 relief to the people of Colorado. COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the chronic underfunding of our schools for more than a decade. We call on the legislature to prioritize funding to school districts where health and safety measures are desperately needed, educator workloads have more than doubled due to the constant and ever-changing in-person/online/hybrid transitions, and where substitute shortages are crippling schools all across the state.

“We are disappointed, however, that at the same time Gov. Polis describes dangerous levels of exponential growth of the virus, he says that K-5 students should attend class in person. Most counties have no specific community mitigation strategies in place to slow the community spread so that schools can open safely for students and educators. As community spread increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for schools to maintain appropriate staffing levels to remain open. School districts across Colorado are putting forth valiant efforts to safely remain open for in-person learning, but they are facing tremendous barriers on a daily basis. Overcoming these barriers requires collaboration and partnership with local health departments, businesses and citizens to exhibit personal responsibility in order to have the necessary conditions for schools to be open to in person learning.

“We appreciate local health departments and local leaders who are finally taking steps to limit community spread. We continue to call on Gov. Polis to provide more state-level leadership by providing clear and specific thresholds and metrics that will help school districts make decisions and provide transparency and predictability for parents and families about how decisions regarding safe in person or remote learning are made. The lack of clear and consistent guidance from the state creates confusion in a time when clarity is essential.”

About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents 39,000 Colorado educators. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

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