Cleveland Heights Teachers Union says district should go remote and avoid all in-person learning

Updated: Jul. 23, 2020 at 11:38 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - The clock is ticking until the first day of school for students, and now one local teachers union is demanding that the kids don’t return to the classroom at all.

Karen Rego is the president of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union. She says the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has been great at creating all the protocols in an effort to keep children and teachers safe, including social distancing, face masks and a sanitary environment.

But, she believes there is no way to guarantee those things are going to happen with students. “Our demand is that we go completely remote online teaching through January 2021,” Rego said.

“They are children. We service children ages 3 through seniors in high school and there is no way children are going to social distance themselves,” Rego said.

There are also issues when it comes to classroom learning.

Rego says, “It’s also hard to read a teacher’s expressions and how they’re feeling when they have a mask covering their face.”

Then there’s the issue of trying to force younger students to keep a face mask on when five elementary schools are not air conditioned.

But even more concerning, what if a teacher or a student actually contracts the coronavirus? How do you determine who has been exposed and who needs to be quarantined?

“Right so this is one of many unanswered questions, and unfortunately our district doesn’t have the answer either,” Rego said.

School Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby responded in-part by saying: “The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District leadership recognizes and takes seriously the concerns expressed by the Cleveland Heights Teachers Unions. District leaders are working to create a reopening plan that, above all else, is safe for all students and staff. … This means, that what our school reopening looks like on September 2nd could very well differ from what our draft plan call for today.”

The union says, “The biggest fear is that someone becomes gravely ill from this illness.”

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