Teachers raise concerns about crowded classrooms to Kanawha County school board

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:30 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Crowded classrooms have left some teachers in Kanawha County feeling uneasy about their line of work.

“We have serious concerns about social distancing,” said Dinah Adkins, co-president of the Kanawha County Education Association.

On Thursday, Adkins along with other teachers addressed the board with concerns about having students, who chose the in-person option, back five days a week. They said it creates an unsafe environment since social distancing with more students is almost impossible for some classrooms.

The board announced last week that in-person students will start to go five days a week to school.

“We feel blindsided,” one teacher said during the meeting to the board.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Williams said they are aiming to have at least 3 feet of distance between students, while wearing masks also, in schools. The 3-feet ruling comes from guidance by the state medical team.

“We feel like it’s no longer an option to even have three feet in some classrooms,” Adkins told WSAZ. “But the students are there, the teachers and service professionals are doing the very best they can ... that doesn’t mean it’s a good situation for anyone.”

Adkins said she would like to see social distancing, and other teachers who spoke asked the board to reverse the decision and go back to blended learning in the meantime.

“Dr. Williams and his team will monitor positive cases, potential positive cases,” said Tracy White, a Kanawha County board member. “If Dr. Williams feels we need to reverse, change or tweak anything, we absolutely will.”

Williams said during the meeting that classrooms are at maximum capacity and, because of that, students will not be able to transfer from virtual to in-person learning now. However, some individual considerations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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