We were told at the beginning of the new year that EPISD was going to think about reopening schools by the Martin Luther King holiday. Well, here we are. It's MLK Day and schools are reopening. As I write this, I need to let you know, I don't have the answer. I'm not going to pretend that I do. But I do think we need to hear all sides of the equation in order to find a viable solution. Unfortunately it feels like no one is listening to the teachers concerns though. I wrote an article last week about teachers being "forced" back to face-to-face instruction. Some people took exception to me using the word "forced". I said it in that article and I'll say it again. I'm using the word "forced" because of the stories I'm hearing from teachers. You can find a Facebook group called Teachers and Students Safe at Home.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people immediately dismiss the teacher's concerns because they are so adamant about virtual learning being a disaster. I know that virtual learning isn't a perfect solution. I have a child in elementary school and it's been a struggle. But is rushing to face-to-face learning the answer? The teacher's concerns stem from ADA exemptions being revoked and the school's not being cleaned properly. Here are just some of the concerns I've heard from teachers.

And at my campus, teachers will have to supply their own disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Plus they don’t want kids eating in the cafeteria, but it’s ok to combine two classes into one classroom for lunchtime, so only one monitor is needed. Just doesn’t make sense.

Teachers not being given the proper supplies seems to be a recurring theme. Another big concern that is brought up frequently is the ADA exemption being revoked.

You do need to mention that EPISD has denied all ADA waivers from doctors and they want to violate Hippa to speak with your doctor to see why you have an underlying condition! This is unethical EPISD questioning your doctor? Then to top it off doctors offices are calling Human Resources and they do not answer calls, or VM, and they do not answer emails.
Another complaint I've heard about is the actual cleanliness of the classrooms.

First off I'd like to say I love teaching. I love helping my students and I would love to be in class with them...if it were safe. People are criticizing teachers for not wanting to go back not knowing that it is the districts and campuses we don't trust. I had an ADA waiver revoked just hours before having to return to campus. I returned yesterday to my classroom just to find the same 2 roaches i saw when we picked up supplies in August lying on the ground in the same spots. Disinfected classroom? Probably not. The only PPE I was given is a face shield, a spray bottle and some paper towels. I was told to bring hand sanitizer.  Oh, and there is no soap in most of the restrooms.

Yes, I don't feel safe putting my life and safety in their hands.

So what is the best solution? I'm not sure but it seems the teachers have legitimate concerns that aren't being acknowledged. I'll be reaching out to someone with EPISD to inquire about the teacher's concerns this week.

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