Teachers union president worried about in-person learning

Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 11:10 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Wood County elementary and middle-school students will be back to in-person, five-days-a-week schooling in a week and a half, if everything goes according to plan.

Just last week, Governor Jim Justice recommended that middle and elementary-schoolers return to in-person learning on January 19th.

The governor cited worries about kids’ remote learning grades and at-home child abuse going unreported.

Still, Bruce Boston, a Wood County teachers union president and Jackson Middle School teacher, calls the plan reckless.

Not only that, he says social-distancing in his classrooms simply isn’t doable.

“I have the largest classroom in our - in my building and 25 kids are going to be two and a half feet if that’s...if the best case scenario, they’re two feet from each other.”

In terms of Justice’s argument about grades, Boston says the students who show up to class every day are succeeding.

However, he admits that it isn’t working for everyone.

“Yes, I do have some students who have disconnected from the school and, you know, I’ve tried phone calls, letters home, messages home. I’ve done everything I can do, given the Covid situation, and they’re just not doing it.”

He acknowledges that that still accounts for many children, but there are matters that take precedent.

“My biggest concern right now is the health and safety of the students and the staff, the employees of Wood County schools. You have to provide for the health and safety first, before you can do any type of education...,”

Boston says he will feel comfortable going 100% back to in-person learning when all county employees are fully vaccinated and would be more comfortable with letting kids back to school in a blended model at this point.

Governor Justice estimated waiting for all school workers to be vaccinated would result in in-person learning resuming mid-late February.

Wood County’s Board of Education will make its back-to-school outline public Monday. The subject matter will be discussed in a board meeting on Tuesday

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