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The Examiner U-46 News Feed

Teacher’s union resists hybrid class use in U-46

By Seth Hancock
  School District U-46 teachers gathered in person to protest the district’s planned hybrid model as they claim in person classes are dangerous.
  At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, Barb Bettis, the president of the teachers’ union, claimed that there were “over 400 teachers standing in the streets today” at a rally. It was the first in-person board meeting since the COVID-19 shutdowns began.
  In a message to staff, Superintendent Tony Sanders said elementary students would return in a hybrid model last week on Jan. 12 and secondary this week on Jan. 19. Sanders wrote that I cannot stand before you and say we are meeting the academic or social/emotional needs of our students in distance learning” with large numbers of “course failures” and “our recent MAP assessments which demonstrate next to no growth across all grade levels and across all student groups, student attendance and student engagement.”
  The district provided a school safety presentation at the meeting which Bettis said was full of “mistruths.” She said “teachers do not feel prepared to walk in the buildings,” and “we don’t believe that collaboration truly was existing.”
  Sanders wrote in his staff statement that students will have to self-certify and wear face masks while there is contact tracing and a plan for COVID-19 testing.
  Teachers will receive 10 additional sick days if they are ordered to quarantine, and Sanders wrote that “I empathize with all teachers” and “all of our workloads” as they continue to receive paychecks while many Americans have lost their jobs due to the government mandates.
  Bettis commended the board for “asking the right questions” as Eva Porter, Melissa Owens and Kate Thommes asked about students refusing to wear masks. Bettis said teachers are scared to see the faces of kids.
  Owens said she wants to know the district is “empowering staff members” to force students to do what they’re told saying she’s “uncomfortable” when she’s in a room with someone not wearing a mask.
  John Heiderscheidt, director of school safety and culture, likened not wearing a face mask as a possible act of violence that could lead to possible suspension. He said “I like it to an escalation” and students should be ordered to “evacuate the classroom” if an unmasked student enters.
  If there’s an unmasked student, the adult teacher “may want to take a step further back” and tell the child “you’re making me uncomfortable.”

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