Windsor Locks BOE, teacher’s union clash over decision to start in-person learning at all schools

Education

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — Tempers flaring in Windsor Locks after the Board of Ed just voted to start ALL in-person learning at the high school and middle schools starting in a month. A lot of teachers say it’s just not safe.

The teacher’s union says right now they’re worried about getting enough protective gear and staying socially distanced with students, and the Board of Ed Chair is firing back.

In Windsor Locks, elementary schools are already all in-person, and teachers News 8 spoke with say it’s hard to stay six feet apart. They’re concerned it won’t be possible at the middle and high schools when they are now slated to have everyone in the classrooms come Nov. 9.

Already, they’ve seen one case at the high school. Nearly 200 came out to the Board of Ed meeting last night about this issue.

Brian Deming, President of the Windsor Locks Teacher’s Association said, “We just want to make sure now that they are appropriately social–distanced. That teachers are given the opportunity to have personal protective equipment when they need it. The concern right now is ‘as supplies are available’. Well, that’s not good enough. We want to make sure the supplies are available.”

The chair for the Board of Education, Patricia King, sent a statement saying the union is being misleading.
The statement reads:

On October 7, 2020, the Windsor Locks Teachers’ Association issued a press release which is both misleading and irresponsible. Specifically, the statement that Windsor Locks Public Schools are “far from safe” its patently false. The Windsor Locks Public Schools are following the combined guidelines of the State Department of Education and the Department of Public Health. We are in constant communication with both the Public Health Director and the District Medical Advisor. Contrary to the Association’s assertion, we require social distancing and masks. PPE is being provided and cleaning products that comply with State guidelines are being used.

The public should be aware that the impetus for the Windsor Locks Teachers’ Association’s press release is an underlying labor dispute. Specifically, the Windsor Locks Teachers’ Association presented a demand for 41 separate items in connection with their return to work, ranging from paying for part of their home electric bills to allowing some members to teach from home, despite the fact that in-school learning is taking place. Despite good faith negotiations, the Board was unable to agree to many of their demands. The matter is now in the hands of a State arbitration panel.

While we know the Windsor Locks Teachers’ Association’s position does not reflect the views of most teachers who understand we are all trying to do the best we can in these unprecedented times, it is unfortunate that, not satisfied with the State plan for reopening and the School Districts refusal to give into unreasonable demands, they now have resorted to scare tactics and mistruths.

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