The Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) held a meeting to discuss issues teachers could face because of this health crisis.
Jamie Lynn Teska, a high school teacher from Southern Door says, “We just don’t know enough about this virus to ensure that all of these great efforts that we’re taking will effectively keep our students safe.”
Its the unknown about COVID-19 weighing most heavily in the minds of teachers in Region 3 of the Wisconsin Education Association but also the tiniest details like – Kleenex.
“We have a box in the front of the classroom and kids need to blow their nose,” Nathan Ugoretz, a teacher from Port Washington and President of WEAC Region 3 says. “So do we want all the students touching the same surfaces, going to the same place to get the same necessary commodity?”
We’ve heard from several school districts and health officials across northeast Wisconsin about their plans to get students back to school and now teachers voiced their concerns.
Teska says, “Currently in Door County, you can only get tested if you are showing symptoms not if you’ve been exposed. So if a student is confirmed to have a case of COVID-19 that student has potentially exposed half of our highschool.”
Should an outbreak arise, teachers questioned the State’s ability to staff schools.
Ugoretz says, “In Wisconsin, we have a teacher shortage, that means we have a substitute shortage. We are not able to find subs in the best of times.”
Members of WEAC say some districts will provide extra support to parents with special needs kids.
Justin Delfosse, a special education teacher and President of Green Bay Education Association says, “We will occasionally have some students that have needs that cannot be met in a virtual setting. Those students will be coming into the building but it’s going to be a very small group.”
Teachers addressed the biggest fear for parents– that their kids will underperfom.
Teska says, “I would like to touch briefly on the worry of your child falling behind, then the entire world is in the same spot. This is not just affecting your child’s school and your child is going to be behind compared to some students in another state like the whole world is experiencing this.”
The Wisconsin Education Association Council says their number one goal is to get students back to in-person learning, and they hope for more funding –to provide other ways get more students back into classrooms.