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Teachers association protest to ‘ensure safe start for students, community’

Teachers, parents and members of the Vicksburg Education Association protest district’s back-to-school plan
Posted at 7:09 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 07:47:41-04

The Vicksburg Education Association said teachers have met with the Vicksburg Community Schools administration twice, trying to come up with a safe plan for returning to school.

VEA President Jennifer Rodas said both sides have not come to an agreement.

So, Wednesday afternoon the association protested on the fields next to the administration building.

“Today we’re really trying to show unity and solidarity towards our cause in ensuring safe start for our student and our community,” said Rodas during an interview with FOX 47. “We start back August 31 and the current plan has all of our students in our district back fully face-to-face.”

She said currently the plan is for students between kindergarten and fifth grade to attend school five days a week, and they're not required to wear a mask, while sixth graders to high school seniors come in four days a week wearing masks, she said.

Wednesdays will be used for the older students who choose the virtual learning option and want to meet with teachers on those days.

The association believes the plan is too risky. They fear an outbreak can happen.

“The Health Department has said it’s not really a matter of “if” but “when,” Rodas said regarding the possibility of an outbreak. “It could just be one isolated incident or multiple isolated incidents that we can isolate and quarantine and take care of. It could also be a situation like in Georgia, where we don’t know how many students teachers staff would be out and for how long.”

FOX 47 reached out to Vicksburg Community Schools about the concerns. They released a statement saying in part:

“We know that our district has our best interest in mind and I know that they’re getting guidance for the Health Dept. We as a staff just feel that we need some more time to to really know whats it’s going to look like. Our district is committed to social distancing but not to the 6-feet. Our district is committed to mask-wearing but not be K-5 when they’re to at their desks.”

It also stated that VCS will be releasing the details of their final plans for the school year on Friday August 14. Families will be given the option to do either virtual or in-person learning.

Rodas said teachers would like to start the year with 100 percent virtual learning. The association believes teachers need more time to assess how things go before allowing students back into the buildings.

“We know that our district has our best interest in mind and I know that they’re getting guidance for the Health Department,” Rodas said. “We as a staff just feel that we need some more time to to really know whats it’s going to look like. Our district is committed to social distancing but not to the six-feet. Our district is committed to mask-wearing but not be K-5 when they’re to at their desks.”