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Tucson teachers union has concerns about TUSD back-to-school plan

Teachers protest
Posted at 9:46 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 03:13:56-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — November 12th is the date TUSD's school board voted to begin hybrid learning, a date the district's teachers union isn't quite sold on.

"We have never supported coming back this semester. We support coming back when all the metrics are green," said Margaret Cheney, President of the Tucson Education Association.

The metrics Cheney is talking about are benchmarks set by the Pima County Health Department.

Those are nine categories, measured on a scale of red to green.

Right now, three of them are in the yellow.

Beyond the health metrics, Cheney said, TEA is not satisfied with the hybrid plan approved by the board.

"We still have a lot of issues with the hybrid model there are some things that still need to be worked out and this deadline and the reaction from members to it, doesn't really give us enough time to prepare everyone."

One issue they have with the plan, Cheney said, is class sizes.

The district's plan calls for 14 or fewer students in each classroom, something Cheney said doesn't account for classroom size or ventilation.

"Every room is not the same size; every room doesn't have the same air-ventilation issues; and so until people have some actual reassurance that all of that is taken care of, people are fearful."

The red line, Cheney said some teachers won't cross: coming back to teach in person if a student or staff member dies of COVID-19.

"It would be for me, definitely and I'm pretty certain that that's the case for our membership."

Cheney says the teacher's union will meet and discuss proposals to bring to the district.

"I think that there can be a happy medium but that's going to take some time we have to come to the table again and work things out."