Parents and teachers disagree on how to safely return to in-person learning

On Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee moved teachers to the front of the line to get the COVID-19 vaccine, however some parents and teachers disagree on how this will impact the return to in-person learning.

In a statement, Inslee said in part:

"The good news is that schools will be able to open and we are pleased that teachers will be back in the classroom. This should give educators more confidence to return to in-person learning and that it can be done with the safety protocols that are being used by 1,400 other schools in our state right now."

Not everyone agrees.

"I support teachers being on the priority list for vaccines, but at the same time, I don’t think it will change our situation. Because I don’t believe the teacher unions, I feel all along the teacher unions will ask for something else," said Elizabeth Fell.

RELATED: Inslee: Washington teachers, child care workers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Fell wants her children back in schools, BUT she knows that will not be the case this year.

Two of her three children will not return to in-person learning at all this year due to a Lake Washington School District decision.

Fell believes even with the vaccine, teachers will find more reasons not to go back to in-person learning.

And some teachers agree, but they say these reasons are to make sure your children, and educators, stay safe.

"If we come back to school and somebody dies, or we have to keep quarantining, that cycle of stress is not going to be good for mental health," said Natasha Sommers.

Natasha Sommers

Sommers teaches special needs students in the Renton School District, where teachers just voted to defy the district’s reopening plan. They reached an agreement with the school district late Tuesday, and some teachers will return to the classroom March 3. 

Sommers thinks vaccinating teachers is an important step to having a safe in-person learning environment, but thinks it is just a step on the process.

"We just want our return to be safe," she said.

She believes, specifically in the Renton School District, there needs to be more of a concrete, district-wide plan on how to address issues which may arise in the classroom (e.g., students not wearing masks, students not socially distancing), before going back to school.

Fell says she does not want to force people back into positions where they are uncomfortable. Instead, she just wants a choice for families who want to go back to in-person learning.

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