Educators calling for re-entry plan changes

Teachers from all over Kanawha County rallied at the West Virginia Capitol, as they asked for...
Teachers from all over Kanawha County rallied at the West Virginia Capitol, as they asked for changes to re-entry plans.(station)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Teachers in Kanawha County stood for change Wednesday morning.

Educators and parents created the “Our students first coalition.” On Wednesday, members of that group called on state leaders to make changes to re-entry plans.

The rally happened as a West Virginia Department of Education meeting was going on.

They are asking for remote learning right off the bat as school starts. Once a district goes two weeks with zero cases, they believe in-person learning with social distancing can continue. Teachers in Kanawha County agree, and some say they won’t be returning in person if changes are not made.

“I will not be responsible for the illness of a child under my care,” said Amy Haden, a teacher at George Washington High School.

Haden’s reasoning for not returning was similar to that of other teachers who were present. Educators say many schools in Kanawha County, especially ones that are older, lack proper ventilation. Haden says she doesn’t have windows that open in her classroom, and that worries her.

She says a lack of ventilation can let the virus spread freely in the classroom. The size of classrooms is also a concern.

“Most of our classrooms are not this large,” Haden said. “Some students will have to get up and use the bathroom. We have ordinary movements in the classroom that we can’t suppress.”

The driving factor behind the movement is uncertainty. Educators claim that too many variables exist when it comes to going back to school in person.

They say they want state leaders to use the community, including parents, local officials, and school improvement councils, so they can come to a solution.

Until decisions are made, parents and teachers who are part of this group, will stay home.

“What if my child gets COVID-19, who is going to be quarantined?” said Jenny Anderson, a member of the coalition. “What do I need to do? Schools can’t answer that.”

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