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Union County teacher resigns after UCPS board’s controversial decision regarding contact tracings, quarantines

One Union County teacher resigned 45 minutes after the meeting ended.
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:51 PM EDT
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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - After the Union County Board of Education voted Monday to do away with the district’s COVID-19 contact tracing, teachers in the county are making tough choices when it comes to their career.

One Union County teacher resigned 45 minutes after the meeting ended when UCPS announced its end to contact tracing and allow students and staff in quarantine to return to school if they are not positive for the virus or showing symptoms.

MORE: Union County School Board votes to do away with COVID-19 contact tracing, quarantine for those not testing positive, symptomatic

“I have to do what’s right for me. And if that means I can’t teach again, I can’t teach again,” said Amy Vitulli, a former UCPS teacher.

For the first time in 13 years, Vitulli is at home on a Tuesday morning. She’s been a band teacher for 15 years, the last 13 at Piedmont High School. But she didn’t go to school Tuesday.

“Effective 3:30 p.m. on September 13, 2021 I’m resigning my position in Union County Schools as a direct result of the irresponsible and careless decision of our Union County School Board,” she read out loud from her own Facebook post from Monday.

She says because of the decision the UCPS board made, she didn’t feel safe going to school. She says before the meeting, she spoke with her husband about their finances and decided if UCPS decided to disregard another North Carolina Safe Schools Tool Kit recommendation, she would quit her job.

”They are putting my children at risk. I’d never be able to forgive myself if i stayed in a position I knew I could get out of and I brought it home to my kids and I gave it to my babies. I lost my uncle in October and it’s a very real risk to my family,” she said.

She believes the only way Union County Public Schools will change their decision is if Governor Cooper or other state leadership steps in.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services sent a statement to WBTV on Monday saying the UCPS board’s decision was troubling and that they “are considering what additional actions may be needed to protect student, staff and community health in Union County.”

Vitulli says in the meantime she’s figuring out her next steps, while thinking of her students and friends back at Piedmont High School.

“I am scared for the people who can’t get out. We have staff members in the hospital at my school. We have kids who are very ill. And they don’t care. I’m very terrified for them. And I hope the next time I see them it’s not at their funeral,” she said.

The board’s vote was 8-1 in favor of the decision, which is effective immediately.

Staff will continue activities as required by law and handle positive and presumptive positive cases, report any positive cases to the Union County Health Department and provide information as required by the health department, the board said.

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