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COVID-19: Teachers, unions say ‘no’ to returning back to school


The Washoe Education Association today issued a lengthy letter to the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees and Superintendent Kristen McNeill.

The message: It’s too unsafe to return to schools.

“The overwhelming concern is safety,” WEA representatives wrote. “Employees do not feel safe nor do they feel confident in returning to the school sites. 

“There are too many questions and unknowns when it comes to ensuring a safe work environment, including concerns of spacing, upkeep of the physical distancing, transmittal of the virus (or virus carriers), questions of  what happens if a student decides NOT to follow the social distancing and mask wearing protocols, questions around the cleaning materials we will be expected to utilize, questions around the decision to depend solely on screening at home with no entry screening, and numerous other items which directly relate to the safety of the employees.”

WEA was joined by the principals’ association and educational support professionals.

They cited too many unknown safety variables needing to be addressed as to why they are opposed to current plans to reopen schools. 

“Without a detailed plan, families could be contacted on a random Wednesday night and told, ‘no school tomorrow, you need to figure out a different plan for your child.’ Parents need time to be  prepared for this,” the groups said. “Having the first nine weeks be distance learning will allow for families and employees to plan ahead.”

They said that going back either as part of a hybrid model or in person should not be considered “until it is safer to return.”

The groups cited national organizations, including the National Education Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, saying “science should drive decision-making on safely reopening schools. Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics.”

Teachers responding to the letter online overwhelmingly applauded the union’s letter to the school district.

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