Forward from Roger Nugent, President- EAW. “We have been fielding numerous phone calls and emails from educators who are greatly distressed about the Reopening Plans and how the School Committee meeting was handled last night. “
Worcester educators oppose mandate to deliver remote lessons from school buildings
The Educational Association of Worcester opposes Superintendent Maureen Binienda’s directive that all educators must work in school buildings while delivering remote lessons.
The district plans to begin the school year with remote learning and to phase in a return to in-person learning. Yet the district is demanding all educators work from school buildings, despite the risk of spreading COVID-19.
“The city must reverse the plan that forces educators into potentially unsafe working conditions. Too many of our school buildings are old and lack adequate ventilation systems, putting educators and their families at unnecessary risk” said EAW President Roger Nugent. “The superintendent has again failed to take educators’ concerns into account when drafting reopening plans.”
The EAW supports members who choose to work in building but wants educators to have the option to deliver their remote lessons from outside of school buildings.
A recent survey of EAW members indicated that more than 60 percent believe that working remotely is safest. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of EAW members voted to adopt the following statement:
Educators across Massachusetts miss their students and are eager to resume learning in person – as that is how education is supposed to be. Our greatest collective obligations, however, are to keep students, educators, families and communities out of harm’s way and to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 in our communities and across the state. Therefore, the districts and the state must demonstrate that health and safety conditions and negotiated public health benchmarks are met before buildings reopen.
The different abilities of communities to meet these standards reflect the profound inequality of our society by class and race. The legacy of structural racism through community disinvestment has left Black, Latinx and Indigenous students, educators and communities with higher risk factors and worse outcomes, all while depriving them of resources to meet these standards. Middle-class and affluent communities will be better suited to meet necessary health and safety benchmarks.
Until the point when districts and the state can meet these criteria, we will refuse to return to unsafe school buildings, and we will use the 10 additional days at the start of the 2020-2021 school year before instruction of students begins to redesign learning.
The EAW should adopt the negotiating position that none of our members are forced back into the building to start the year and we will only return to the buildings after a subsequent agreement at a later date when our members determine it is safe to return.
From July 19 to July 25, a week in which the city saw 67 new cases, five of those cases were employees or residents of long-term care centers. Ten of them were children under 18, and 19 of the cases came from “clusters” of nine separate gatherings.
From July 26 to July 31, 11 of the 84 new cases that week were from long-term care centers, and 16 of the cases were children under 18. Thirty-two of the new cases that week stemmed from 14 gatherings.