Parents, teachers ask Johnston County School Board to delay in-person learning
Many parents and educators want to delay the re-opening of schools until it can be done more safely.
Yeah, you're gonna have evolved. Just kidding. That was so bad. A lot of people. It's all right. Okay. Let me know. You don't want to get okay? It's like Thanks. Just, you know, kind of. Yeah. Okay. Introduce yourself. Yeah. She went in that mission of Michael. Yeah, sure. It's a great of your mind. Yes. No, maybe. Yeah. Okay. Better maybe. Yep. Okay, Gary, tell me when you get good afternoon. I am April Lee, a teacher here in Johnston County public schools, A mother of two Johnson County public school students and president of Johnson County Association of Educators. Last week, our board voted to return to face to face instruction during the height of our pandemic. After Dr Peterson presented information about the delicate balancing our hospitals and their staff are doing to treat cova cases and regular illnesses. And after our principles expressed concern about staffing and safety in our schools. Today we're here to present three priorities that must be met before we can safely return to face to face instruction. The first priority is employees of Johnson County. Public schools must have access and the option to be fully vaccinated with both doses off the covert vaccine before we return to face to face instruction. The second priority is Johnson County. Schools must report any cases of transmission within our schools on our Covad Ashfield specific to each school so that our communities have accurate data. Our third priority is Johnson County. Schools must guarantee 6 ft of distancing in all educational settings in Johnson County public schools when we return face to face to face instruction. I long to be back in the classroom with my kids. I want so badly for this to be over, but it's not. And when we return to face to face instruction, we all deserve a safe environment to teach our kids. Thank you really good afternoon. My name is Martha Andre, and I am the parent of two Children in the Johnson County Public School system. I'm here today because I love our teachers. Our teachers live by a code of ethics to keep our Children safe. We owe them the same. In return, 12 North Carolina educators have died from Cove in 19. The average age of these 12 educators who died was only 58. We have a duty and an obligation to furnish teachers with a safe workplace providing the necessary tools such as transparency, opportunity to be fully vaccinated and a guarantee of compliance to at least 6 ft of social distancing and mask wearing at all times are ways that we show our teachers that our commitment to them is as strong and meaningful as their commitment to our Children. Thank you. Do you think about that today? Yeah. For Yeah. Okay. What? Hello. My name is Robert Heller. I'm a 30 year teacher. Um, on. And I just want to say that just like all the grocery stores in the area, all the major chains we've been open for business here in Johnson County. Teachers, custodians, the cafeteria workers, bus drivers, administrations, central office staff of the past year. And we've been working hard. And there's no people on Earth who want our Children back in school. A za Muchas we dio We've been working hard. It hasn't been the way that we would like to. We'd like to have him back in school, but, um, before we do, we just like to say that teachers are essential. They're not expendable. And one day, this horrible pandemic will society and when it does, we're gonna need all these teachers working. It's hard or harder than they ever had to get these Children back in the classroom, back on track, caught up. And to do that to give these kids back in school so we can move ahead, we need to protect our teachers. And that's why J. C. H E is has a three requests. The full vaccination or access to vaccination before we bring everybody back. The little bit more transparency and the data that's available and also a guarantee of 6 ft because we wanna get everybody back. But we want to get him back safely. Um, and that way we can work together to turn the tide and get these Children back and get all the educator Syrian Johnson County back and get back to doing what we do best. Thank you. Hi there. My name is Shelly Roberts, and I've been teaching in Johnson County schools for 21 years. Born and raised here, I have three Children elementary, middle and high school, and I'm here today because two of my three Children are not doing well with virtual, and I know that, and they know that and we're making the best because we're in a pandemic and we're doing the best we can. And that's all we can expect right now. Way have 5000 employees in Johnson County teachers, custodians, bus drivers, um, T A s. They're essential. And those 5000 people deserve toe. Have a say in their health and safety. We are only asking a few things were asking to be able to have the choice to get the vaccines, both of them, before we return to school so that we feel safe. My own middle schooler had to out of his 84 teachers absent the week before Christmas. And it isn't getting better. Numbers are getting worse. The numbers are going up. The recent study Most recent studies about safely reopening schools our way have double the number that they're saying should be hospitalized with Cove in our county is currently over that amount over double the amount that they're saying it's safe to open schools. All we're asking here is to feel safe in our jobs and to return to our classrooms when we've been given that chance. E just wanted toe let you guys will be glad to take questions at the end way. Appreciate, but individually way appreciate you coming out. And here, in our concerns, um, as the educators and parents have said, we want to be back in school. This is our passion. This is our love. We love our students. Um, but our health and safety should also be a priority in Johnson County schools. Needs to meet the three priorities that we have asked for in order for us to be able to return to face to face instruction. Safe. Thank you. Yeah. Okay. So I'm wondering, I'm sure you've reached out to the Board of Education. Tell me what the response has been so far. E thought it was, uh, sorry. Yeah, We'll do individual questions. I'm sure instead of anybody who wants it answering, I'll be speaking of which and okay, All right. Don't miss it. Mhm, sir. This is now your time. Mhm. So you could just look at me pretending cameras? Sure. Or whose Ever? Yeah. This one. Yeah. Thank you. Okay. All right. So tell me. I'm sure you've reached out to the Board of Education. What has? They're responsible. Um, right now we're in the middle of an email campaign to the board members. Um, and I haven't had a response. Aziz, you all know the vote last week was on the 43 schools. Eso we know that we have three board members have supported returning to school safely instead of returning to schools recklessly in jeopardizing the health and safety staffing and mhm stupid. Uh, so right now, I have not had any personal responses for any of people members. Um, so we're waiting on that. We're gonna see, you know, what we would really like is another All right. A special session. Eso that they have an opportunity to reverse this decision and keep the health of educators. Attn. 4 ft. What would your message be? The parents? I know there's a lot of frustrated parents out there who feel like their their kids are falling behind. What would you know? Yeah, I'm appearing to And, um, my my two Children here still in public schools e have one who is a rock star and I have one highs struggle. So, as a parent, I totally understand the frustration. Andi, what it's like for remote. Uh, it's the hardest thing we've ever done it will do with it together. School has not stopped. Destruction has not stopped way. All know that not all kids learn best this way. But we're in the middle of a pandemic. And we have got to make some choices about how we handle this situation and how we prioritize people's health and safety. Um, so, you know, we just have to keep moving forward. This is not divisive. We are all in this together. Parents, teachers, classified staff are administration. Our district. We're all struggling together. We are trying thio be positive and make grounds together. You know, we are trying to gain, um, it's just been it's a difficult circumstance for everybody involved. Do you think it's a realistic timeline to get all the educators vaccinated? When you see 65 75 year old struggling to get the vaccine, do you think that could happen before the semester is over with? Um, well, you know, today way have a change in our federal administration, and we know that there is an outline for a timeline trying to push the vaccine out quicker way, hold a lot of hope in that right. We really want Thio see that happen and hope that we have more access. Um, Johnson County schools is being strapped, just like everybody else as faras. The vaccines were concerned they vaccinated 40 people yesterday because they had 40 vaccines. Um, so I'm hoping that there's support and push from the federal government to help move this forward so that we can get back in the classrooms faster and in a safe way. Just to be clear, your first advocating for not returning to in person in Phillips, standing, but fascinated. But if they do return, you're calling for a certain state parts we are advocating for a safe return that includes people having the option to be vaccinated before the return. I hesitate to use anything that says that we want to keep our schools closed. That is not the case of, uh, schools are close wear. Still teaching the buildings are open. Um, but it is the the balance of returning face to face versus saying virtual for the while, you know, not safe to do so a little about how long you've been teaching for. Um, I started teaching in January of 2000. Um, so I've been in the classroom for a long time. Um and, um and I've been in Johnson County the whole time I was born and raised Here is Well, have you seen? Tell your first? Sure. It's April Lee a p r i l l e April, have you received the timeline of logistical time Way? Notice the information that was given at the last board meeting, which was, you know, we had students start back face to face yesterday. Um are okay. Students that are e C. Self contained students are back in the building's already and K 12 will be returning on February 1st on the rate Currently, that vaccines are being distributed. There's no way for us Thio be vaccinated for those of us who want to be before that February 1st day. Thank you very much. You're welcome. Thank you. You got it? Okay. Okay. All right. Yeah, that is never done. Ecstatic trata The current status was thank you. It is always nervous. I could tell e you know how much there's no zero a zero e my baby? Because no matter what e I get in trouble for five seconds later, they did you put together the stony. Never got tonight. A great it's reopening education. It said that you should be between 35 45 ish. Yeah. The pollution. Well, did anyone in any dose every day? Thank you. Nobody? Yes. Here's e school board. Russian. Get this, actually, because race baiting transmission they didn't know. Here. I think it's wonderful. Okay, the other thing, the next. This is not mhm. Doesn't a North Carolina that shows okay where they're from way. Think it's important that be acknowledged? A school board, Uh, when they make these decisions, that technology that well educated Wait, What? They could not set in there again? I think so. This. So you guys? Yeah, Smaller district. That's when I'm president. Community President to do that. So, what did you do about it?