East Haven

East Haven Teachers Rally Against School Year Starting with Full In-Person Learning

Students in East Haven are expected to return to classes in one week.

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As the East Haven Board of Education met on Tuesday, teachers rallied outside to push for the district to change its school reopening plans.

“I’m nervous. I want to be in there. I want to teach but I don’t know how we can safely do it,” said Samatha Iannotti, an East Haven teacher.

Iannotti is a special education teacher who is also worried about her family.

“I have a newborn son at home, 3 months old. I have a father who lives with me, 68 years old, COPD. We already lost a family member to this disease,” said Iannotti.

Teachers also delivered a petition calling for the district to rethink the plan for schools to start with full in-person learning next Tuesday.

“Schools are not ready. We’re still trying to figure out how we’re getting desks in there. We have so many unanswered questions,” said Michael Archambault, East Haven Education Association vice president.

Archambault said they believe a hybrid option would be safer with fewer students in the buildings.

“We can allow for social distancing, less students on the bus, hallways will be less packed. Anyone moving around will be easier,” said Archambault.

During the school board meeting district leaders talked about the school preparations underway.

“I know it’s a steep challenge but I am ultimately confident that we can navigate it and have, are ready to open schools,” said Erica Forti, East Haven superintendent.

And the board chair argued current health metrics support a full return to the classroom now.

“Please know that the district is working closely with the health department and monitoring the data and is ready to change plans accordingly. If a full in-person option is no longer safe we will change course,” said Michele DeLucia, Board of Education chair.

District leaders said they need all teachers to return with nearly 80% of students interested in coming back to school.

Still some teachers say they are scared amid a lot of uncertainty.

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