CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Parents in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District speak out after the Cleveland Teachers Union voted to stay out of the classroom. The vote by the CTU goes against the school district’s plan to reopen schools.
The district says they want students and faculty to return back to schools starting March 8, but the teachers union says many safety issues still need to be addressed.
“We need to make sure that those classrooms have safe ventilation, have proper fresh air before we bring adults and students back into the building,” says Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari.
With the delay to return back to school comes frustrated parents who have been waiting nearly a year to get their kids back to in-person instruction.
“I’ve seen the frustration, and then I get frustrated,” says Laura Taylor, whose grandkids are CMSD students. “They need to get back the social skills.” Taylor gets their concern. Even though Taylor wants to see kids back in the classroom, she understands the concerns of the teachers union.
“They should make it safe,” she says. Others on social media also siding with safety and the teachers union, with one parents saying, “I agree, keep kids safe. People are trying to get too relaxed.”
Still, some parents say they just shouldn’t have to wait any longer to send their kids back.
CMSD released a statement on Friday saying it still plans to have teachers resume in-person learning on Monday, despite direction from the union for staff members to not return.
The statement reads:
The District is aware that CTU has directed its members not to return to work, citing a number of non-specific concerns about the safety of our classrooms, schools and District.
CMSD has spent a great deal of time, effort, and money preparing our school sites with:
· Ample Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for each school and classroom, additional cleaning and sanitation supplies for each school and classroom, hand sanitizer gel, and disinfectant spray for every single classroom.
· Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning procedures for every building.
· COVID-19-related signage.
· Installation of Quarantine Centers for students and adults displaying COVID-like symptoms while at school.
· Reconfigured classrooms, offices, cafeterias, restrooms, and other school facilities to meet social distancing requirements.
· Updating of technology available to classroom teachers, including additional laptops, cameras, microphones, and earbuds.
· The enhancing of ventilation systems with higher-grade filters, the installation of portable air purifier units in older school buildings, and more.
The District is confident our buildings are safe and ready for learning next week, as planned. The District will continue to work with CTU today and through the weekend to identify any specifically identified concerns in our buildings and classrooms.
The District believes teachers and other professionals have an ethical responsibility to return to their classrooms on Monday; however, we will not lock teachers out of their digital classrooms. While doing so may be an effective negotiating tactic to place pressure on teachers and the Cleveland Teachers Union, it would also be done at the expense of our students, and that is something the District will not do.
CMSD will continue our current efforts to prepare our students and parents for the phased-in return to school we previously announced, with the full expectation that any specifically identified concerns of the Cleveland Teachers Union can and will be effectively addressed.