Parents, educators plead with Johnston County School Board to delay return to in-person learning

Posted January 20, 2021 11:46 p.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2021 1:42 p.m. EST

Parents and teachers stood together in Johnston County on Wednesday in an outdoor news conference, all with the same plea.

“All we are asking here is to feel safe and return to our classrooms when given that chance,” teacher Shelly Roberts said.

During the 20-minute gathering, the group shared that 12 teachers in North Carolina have died from COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the Johnston County School Board voted 4-3 in favor of bringing students K-12 back by Feb. 1. This plan would include a mixture of in-person and remote learning.

April Lee/President of the Johnston County Association of Educators, believes that further discussion on the matter is necessary.

"We would really like another board meeting, a special session so they can have an opportunity to reverse this decision and keep the educators at the forefront," Lee said.

The list of priorities to return to class under the proposal from teachers and parents includes six feet of social distance, transparency in reporting infection numbers, and an allowance for all educators and staff to have access to vaccines before going back.

That may not be so easy, however, as there's been log jam of seniors clamoring to get the vaccine. So when would the vaccine could become available to Johnston County Educators? Johnston County spokesperson Lu Hickey isn't sure.

“It’s difficult to predict how much vaccine we’ll receive from week to week, which then makes it difficult to predict when teachers will be able to receive the vaccine,” Hickey said.

Until there is more of answer, some would like to put the return in the classroom on pause.

"We are advocating for a safe return with people having the option for a vaccine," Lee said.

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