Union County teachers rally for safe return to school

Updated: Aug. 16, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - With just hours left until the new school year begins, Union County teachers rallied together to address safety for themselves and their students when they return to the classroom.

It will be the time students sit inside classrooms since March when COVID-19 became a big concern.

What's usually an exciting time for teachers is now terrifying for some. In Union County, if most teachers could have it their way, this school year would be done only remotely.

Many of them told WBTV they don't feel comfortable being back in classrooms, so they hosted a rally in opposition of the superintendent's decision to have in-person classes.

Union County Public School Teachers at Sunday’s rally don’t want to start the school year inside of a school building.

They say it’s just too risky. “Teachers voices have not been heard,” a teacher said. Remote learning works just fine for them, but that’s not what district officials have in store for teachers or students.

Union County’s superintendent decided on a Hybrid Plan B.

That means in-person classes on rotation for Mondays through Thursdays and Fridays would be reserved for remote learning. “We don’t love that answer,” a teacher said. “It’s just heartbreaking because our kids deserve the best. Our teachers deserve the best,” another teacher said. To make a point, the teachers requested a hearse for the rally. They say it represents the risk to everyone’s health, even possibly death, if in-person classes caused someone to catch COVID-19.

That’s a bold statement, but teachers say it needs to be shown.

Right now, even though the teachers stand strong in how they feel about their safety, they say there are no plans for any of the teachers to walk out Monday during classes.

The teachers plan on holding a town hall meeting on Friday. They are requesting that the superintendent show up.

Their hope is that in-person classes are canceled for the year.

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