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Kent County Education Association releases statement about returning to in-person learning

Posted at 10:05 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 06:21:27-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Education Association released a statement Wednesday about the upcoming academic year.

The association says that the relationships teachers and support staff build with students are crucial to learning.

“Each and every public school staff member believes the best place for our students to learn is in the classroom in the care of highly trained professional public educators and support staff in a safe environment,” the statement said. “In the event that in-person learning is not an option, we are committed to providing a quality and supportive educational experience for all students.”

The association also says it believes the following:

  • Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students, families, and staff.
  • Schools are most effective when staff, administration, elected officials and families work together.
  • All public school employees are essential and must be included in the decision-making process for all phases of a safe return to school, including in-person, remote and hybrid models.
  • Public schools adapt to meet the needs of all students. Meaningful learning can take place in many forms when training and support are provided.
  • Decisions regarding learning and working conditions must be based on scientific data and recommendations. Schools should only resume in-person classes if it is safe.
  • We expect Phase 4 “Strongly Recommended” procedures in Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap to be implemented to the greatest degree possible. We expect districts to communicate with parents, students and staff when it is not possible to follow these procedures.
  • Facial coverings reduce the spread of COVID-19 transmission and must be used throughout the school day by all students and staff unless medical documentation is provided.
  • Changes in working conditions, safety protocols and online instruction must be bargained with local associations.
  • Public school students should be taught by public school educators in their districts, whether online or in-person.
  • All Kent County educators are committed to their students and families. We have never given up, nor will we in the future.