Teachers union against Jeffco return to in-person school

Official letter asks district to change plans

Staff report
Posted 7/20/20

On July 20, teachers union Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) communicated with district leaders to request that school does not open in-person the week of Aug. 24 as planned. Jeffco …

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Teachers union against Jeffco return to in-person school

Official letter asks district to change plans

Posted

On July 20, teachers union Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) communicated with district leaders to request that school does not open in-person the week of Aug. 24 as planned.

Jeffco Public Schools has been working since spring to develop a plan for how students and staff would return to school in fall 2020 in a way that balances academic needs and COVID-19 concerns. After gathering community feedback through several mediums, including a community survey, the district announced July 8 that students would have two options: a 100% in-person experience or a 100% online experience.

But throughout the process, some Jeffco educators have been asking the district to consider limiting the number of in-person school days to protect community members, including staff members, from contracting the virus.

According to a July 20 JCEA media release, the union has also issued three surveys to educators and found that a majority indicated that “health and safety must be at the center of every decision we make.”

Now, the union is officially calling upon the district to reconsider its restart plan.

“While Jeffco educators would like to see school return to normal as much as parents and students do, we have a responsibility to speak up for our school and community safety,” said JCEA president Brooke Williams. “The start of school should be online or be postponed until broader conditions improve and JCEA and Jeffco Schools can come together to agree on how to respond to rapidly changing COVID conditions.”

Also on July 20, Jeffco Public Schools provided a statement to Colorado Community Media saying it is having daily conversations with the health department, district staff and others about feedback it has received.

"We appreciate JCEA sharing their newest data from their membership survey. We are continuing to observe conditions as we work towards a decision for the fall," the statement said. "We will take the time to process this information in order to make the best decision for students and our community. We anticipate new information, changes in the spread of the virus, and more testing and mitigation guidance to be coming out which will continue to inform our thinking and decision process."

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