Yesterday GEA sent the following letter to the Granite School Board and Superintendent Martin Bates. Our intent was to alert them to the concerns of teachers. At tonight's school board meeting, a plan for next school year will be finalized. We STRONGLY encourage you to listen in on the meeting.
Follow this link to the Granite School District website for access to the meeting online: https://www.graniteschools.org/bulletin/july-14-board-of-education-meeting/
If you have not contacted your school board member or Dr. Bates regarding your concerns, please do so before 5pm TODAY!
Dear President Winder and Dr. Bates,
GEA is writing today to express concerns with the plans the district board and administration are making for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. While we have been meeting with you and discussing educator concerns throughout the summer, we feel obligated to outline some of the pressing issues GEA members are bringing to our attention.
The current plan to begin the year, August 24, with all students attending full-time, five days a week is aggravating any safety measures that might be in place. Having 30+ students in a classroom with a lack of ventilation, air circulation, space to distance, etc. has teachers fearful of their health and safety. Some of the concerns they have are as follows:
According to the basic CDC guidelines for reopening schools: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/Schools-Decision-Tree.pdf we believe the district is not prepared or able to meet the first guidelines of maintaining safety by addressing how students and staff will be monitored prior to entering a school building, and where they will be held if they show a fever or any of the symptoms related to COVID-19. We know that parents will send their students to school with a dose of medication and a hope that they can get through the day even while being ill. What is the plan to ensure these students are not intermingling with the population at large? Also, the district has not addressed high-risk personnel in the teaching staff. At least a third of our teachers are at high-risk and while they are able and willing to work from home, they are being told this is not an option. There needs to be a remedy for their continued service other than leaving the district. The Utah State Board of Education lists the following requirements to LEAs when planning for reopening:
GEA believes this calls for more consideration of teachers who are high-risk to work online or be re-assigned during this time when COVID-19 cases are escalating in the state. Suggesting that these career teachers choose between their long careers at Granite or their health or life is not meeting the basic requirements the state outlines. We cannot afford to lose our most experienced teachers due to the lack of options for online teaching.
GEA is asking the district board and administration to consider these basic needs:
Michael McDonough, GEA President