Speaking Out--Teachers Voice Frustration With School Board
By Ethan Ellis--Eagle Staff Writer
School has not been the same since March of 2020. Many new restrictions have been imposed on how students can attend school and how many can do so. While most of these plans have received positive feedback from teachers, students, and the community, this hasn't always been the case.
Back in January, when students were slated to return from winter break, the School Board tried to stick by a decision made last year stating that after winter break, students would return to school fully in-person four days a week. However, this was not received well by teachers.
“My main concern about going back fully in person was the fact that students would be eating in classrooms twice a day unmasked in close proximity of less than three feet to each other, as well as their teachers,” explained history teacher Theresa Trexler.
Since the decision to go back fully in person was made last year, many teachers like Trexler have been skeptical to say the least about whether or not this would work.
“If the original plan put forth by the school board had gone into effect, it would have proved to be an unworkable plan,” Ellen McCullen, English teacher, shared.
So the teachers did what they had to: They went to the School Board and expressed their feelings. They attended the School Board meetings and stood in the parking lot and went into the meetings to ensure they were heard.
“We made use of social media, conversations within our communities, and other venues. One thing about teachers: we're connected,” recalled English teacher Shannon Brooks.
Through campaigns over social media such as the one Brooks mentioned, word about this movement spread far and fast. But with all this media attention, a new concern arose: how would the community react to these teachers' demonstrations?
“The community has found itself torn by this issue," Brooks said.
After multiple meetings, the School Board came to a decision to postpone full in-person learning until February 15, a decision that was later changed to postpone full in-person learning to later in the year. The teachers had emerged victorious and were able to change the School Board’s decision.
“I was satisfied with the board's decision, which allowed school staff time to review safety concerns and put in place measures that would help to mitigate the unchecked spread of the virus,” Trexler concluded.
On March 8th, the School Board voted to return to fully in-person education five days a week, a plan not supported by Trexler.
"I fully supported the plan that was presented to the board by Dr. Cobbs and our administration. Unfortunately, the board decided to go in a much different direction which does not take social distance into account at the high school level," said Trexler.
Students will return to fully in-person learning on March 29th.