A new survey, released on the eve of a planned demonstration Wednesday, shows many Connecticut teachers and staff are concerned about safety within school buildings amid the latest wave of the pandemic. On Tuesday, teacher and school worker unions released a member survey that pointed to concerns over failures to distribute N95 masks and at-home test kits, staff shortages, and in favor of more flexibility for temporary remote learning. The results came ahead of public school employees\u2019 plans to wear black and use the hashtag #Blackout4SafeSchools on social media to demand better mitigation strategies during the omicron surge. In the lead up to the demonstration, the state offered some plans to address a few but not all concerns, from additional shipments of masks and test kits, to an executive order to reemploy retired teachers. \u201cWe\u2019ve got well over 500,000 rapid tests out to all of our schools, we\u2019ve got millions of N95 masks,\u201d Gov. Ned Lamont said on Tuesday afternoon. \u201cThat\u2019s all to give people the confidence that you can teach in school, your kid can go to school, you can go safely \u2014 and right now, I think it\u2019s working.\u201d \u201cI appreciate that there\u2019s some teachers who want us to do more, and every day we\u2019re going to try to do more,\u201d he said. Close to two-thirds of survey respondents reported they do not have the supplies and protocols in place to feel safe doing their jobs. Those polled included more than 5,500 teachers, paraprofessionals, school bus drivers and monitors, custodians, nurses, and support staff in 169 districts across the state. \u201cWe\u2019re in a pandemic, and there\u2019s a lot of infections,\u201d Lamont said. \u201cFortunately, milder repercussions, but that doesn\u2019t mean you\u2019re not cautious.\u201d More than 2,300 employees reported positive COVID cases early last week, according to state data through Jan. 5. The count is subject to change as schools become aware of more positive results. \u201cBut that doesn\u2019t mean we deny kids the opportunity to be in a classroom, as long as we can keep them there safely,\u201d the governor said. Lamont also signed an executive order on Tuesday that gives districts greater flexibility to enlist retired teachers amid shortages caused by the recent spike in cases. \u201cWe are fortunate to have retired teachers available to provide some relief for their colleagues who continue to do great work for school children across our state,\u201d said Lamont in a statement. \u201cWe will continue to utilize all tools at our disposal to provide for a safe and meaningful classroom education for students.\u201d Education department spokesperson Eric Scoville said the state \u201ccontinues to deliver on the promise\u201d for test kits and masks, but some educators reported differently. In the union survey, 70 percent of educators said they didn\u2019t have access to N95 masks and home testing kits when they returned to school \u2014 though more stock is in the pipeline. \u201cWe have additional distributions planned for the future as soon as supplies are available, and we are actively working with school districts to ensure they receive their needed supplies,\u201d said Scoville. \u201cThe state also continues to expand testing capabilities, which will help ease wait times for PCR tests for both staff and families.\u201d Another round of test kits are scheduled for distribution again \u201cin the coming days\u201d to every public school district and private school in the state, Scoville said. N95 masks for adults and other masks will also be part of that delivery. But teachers across the state are calling on elected officials and department heads to hear what they say they need to be safe \u2014 which included those high-quality masks and COVID tests before schools reopened last week. David Bosso in Berlin planned to wear black on Wednesday to ensure teachers\u2019 voices are part of important decisions. \u201cWe\u2019re on the ground,\u201d he said. \u201cWe have the pulse of things. We know best about the impact on our school communities.\u201d Bosso said he wants to be in person with his students, but schools \u2014 that made every effort to reopen \u2014 have closed as COVID cases left them short-staffed. While the coalition agreed that in-person learning is best for students, 88 percent of poll respondents believe superintendents should have the flexibility to temporarily shift to remote instruction without needing to make up the days later. \u201cWe\u2019re putting ourselves in a position where rather than taking a proactive, preemptive approach, things have blown up,\u201d he said. \u201cIt lacks a practical approach to the reality on the ground.\u201d Mary Kay Rendock in Bloomfield said she feels supported by local administrators, but recognized not all Connecticut educators have had the same experience. \u201cAs much as we are cared for, there a lot of people in this state that are not cared for,\u201d she said. More than half of educators said their administrators don\u2019t understand the challenges they are facing, according to the coalition poll. And 70 percent reported their district is not successfully balancing professional expectations and social-emotional needs. Rendock is in touch with other teachers and on social media, where posts and memes have circulated about a lack of regard for their safety. \u201cPeople don\u2019t feel listened to,\u201d she said.