Coronavirus, Education

Fulton Teachers Urge District To Revise Reopening Plan

In this Sept. 9, 2020, photo, a student’s temperature is taken upon arrival at the Immaculate Conception School in The Bronx borough of New York. In Fulton County, starting Monday, the school district will move to Phase III of its reopening plan, which has students attending school in-person for one full day each week. Students have the option to continue with online learning.
In this Sept. 9, 2020, photo, a student’s temperature is taken upon arrival at the Immaculate Conception School in The Bronx borough of New York. In Fulton County, starting Monday, the school district will move to Phase III of its reopening plan, which has students attending school in-person for one full day each week. Students have the option to continue with online learning.
Credit John Minchillo / Associated Press file

Some teachers in the Fulton County Schools have written an open letter to the district, asking it to make changes to its plan for in-person learning.

The missive indicates Fulton resumed in-person classes too soon, noting that neighboring Cobb County won’t bring students back in person until Oct. 5.

Right now, students only attend school one day a week for half the day. Starting Monday, the district will move to Phase III of its reopening plan, which has students attending school in-person for one full day each week. Students have the option to continue with online learning.

“We request assurances that we will move forward or backward in phases in response to the data and not political pressure,” the letter states. “We request that if case levels return to levels greater than 150 per 100,000 [people] that we return to the Universal Remote Learning phase.”

The letter also requests cleaning supplies that have been approved by the EPA to use against the coronavirus. It also asks the districts to test students and teachers for COVID-19.

Finally, the letter asks Fulton Superintendent Mike Looney to hold virtual town hall meetings with faculty to listen to and address their concerns.

The district responded:

“The phase-in plan is a slow and cautious approach to reintroducing students and staff to the classroom. The Reopening Matrix and reintroduction strategy has been public since July, with updates being provided as new data came from public health officials. From the start of school on Aug 17, which was part of a delayed opening that provided one additional week of professional development for teachers, to Oct 14 we will have been following a series of slow and cautious steps, driven by data, to bring students back to our ultimate goal of returning to face-to-face instruction.”

Regarding cleaners used, the district said, in part, “The general cleaner is Green Seal Certified, meaning it is safer for the environment and those using it. Since it is not a disinfectant, it is safe to use around children.”

When it comes to communication, the district said, “Dr. Looney has had monthly, interactive, virtual meetings with his teacher council, parent council, PTA/PTO groups, and student council. Board members have been communicating with parents and teachers and sharing their concerns with staff on an ongoing basis.”

Some Fulton teachers reportedly held a walkout this week to bring attention to the concerns addressed in the letter. The event apparently occurred during lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m., so that classes wouldn’t be disrupted.

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