WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Teachers from unions around the state are asking Governor Charlie Baker and school districts to start the school year fully remote and phasing in to in-person classes when it is safe to do so.
This morning in western Massachusetts, teachers from multiple communities were speaking out about students safety, as well as their own.
This comes while some parents are fighting for their children to go back into the schools to get their education.
“We want to make sure we support all of our fellow educators in pushing for a remote only return to school,” said Maureen Colgan Posner with the Springfield Education Association.
Educators in western Massachusetts rallied Wednesday morning in support of all school districts holding fully remote classes in the fall
“Springfield has voted for remote only to our schools and that’s the way we feel is safety, but we do have teachers who live in all these surrounding communities and so, until it’s safe for everyone, we should only be doing remote as far as I’m concerned, across the state,” Colgan Posner added.
Posner said she is grateful for her district's decision and she is here to fight for the other communities that have adopted hybrid back-to-school plans.
“I think that what we are is educators and we will do everything we can to meet the needs of our students,” Colgan Posner said.
More than 20 school districts in western Massachusetts have submitted their hybrid plans to the state - all preparing for different phases of in-person and remote learning.
Colgan Posner told Western Mass News that these schools need to focus on the safety of their students, teachers, and the community before going back to school.
“In Springfield, we have 57 buildings, but we need to make sure we have the proper PPE. We have to have the right sanitizing producers, the ability to have six feet of spacing and that will be difficult.” Colgan Posner explained.
Just across the street from the teachers protesting were parents and supporters of children going back to school for in person learning.
“Our school leaders have to take into account the teachers union will strike and sue and they are doing it all over the country and it angers me thinking about how my three children, that go to school in town, will miss out on an education,” said Tony Sorcinelli of West Springfield.
We spoke to Sorcinelli, who said there are multiple factors that support children going back into the schools this fall.
“It’s time for the kids to get back to school in West Springfield. Only 10 percent of parents in the parents survey said that they didn’t want their kids going back to school. The commissioner has recommended a return to school, the governor has recommended a return, the president and now the Pediatric Associates of Hampden County - our local physicians - have said that it’s time to return to school,” Sorcinelli noted.
Sorcillenni said he strongly feels that the risk of students not going back to school outweighs the risk of COVID.
“For the longest time, we have been saying a two percent infection rate or less would be an indicator to go back to school. I checked last night, it’s at 1.65 percent,” Sorcinelli said.