MONROE, Wash. - Parents in Monroe are rallying behind teachers who are concerned about students returning to the classroom.
First graders are scheduled to return to in-person hybrid learning on Tuesday. A spokesperson said the Monroe School District has the support of the Snohomish Health District. In addition, the district spokesperson told Q13 News there are extensive safety measures in place including an internal COVID Protection Plan.
Meanwhile, the Monroe Education Association (MEA) had voted to continue remote learning and keeping teachers home, but according to the Washington Education Association (WEA) school administrators are threatening to fire teachers.
In a statement, the WEA writes teachers are concerned because the district has not taken steps needed to prepare for more students in school buildings and began holding rushed safety trainings with staff, saying further:
The union filed multiple complaints early Monday afternoon with the state department of Labor and Industries about ongoing safety and health violations, including no clear plan for notifying staff and students who have been exposed to COVID cases at school, lack of PPE, procedures for isolating students or staff with COVID symptoms, and no clear plan for cleaning and sanitizing areas where the infected person may have been.
“We’re in the midst of a pandemic, so to find out our school board does not have a top limit that they would consider too many infections to pull the plug on in-person learning is disappointing and horrifying,” said Robyn Hayashi of the MEA.
Parents are also concerned about sending their children back to school.
“With everything going on I don’t see how it can be safe to send him back with the numbers skyrocketing,” said Megan Parkinson. “I’m not sending him back to school until the numbers go down, and if that means the district punishes me then that’s what the district does.”
The district said in an email to families they understand this is a difficult decision for families, and if families are not ready to send their children back to school to get in touch with the principal to discuss the best option available.