AEA concerned for employees with reopening schools

Updated: Jul. 15, 2020 at 9:32 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As more schools systems across the state release plans for the start of schools, the president of the state’s largest education association is watching closely to learn how COVID-19 will impact its members and their return to the classroom.

“This is not just a school issue it’s a community issue,” said Alabama Education Association President Sherry Tucker. “If someone in the school gets ill..someone in the community can get ill also.”

That’s just one of Tucker’s many concerns. She says she’d heard concerns like this from educators all across the state.

“They are afraid” Tucker said.

To make things safer some schools are adding a virtual option to their curriculum. The state’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools calls recommends teachers and students wear masks. The CDC has also released recommendations on how schools should be sanitized before they open. But, is it enough?

Dr. Albert Russell is a chemistry professor at Tuskegee University. He’s also a father of two and he feels there’s a rush to reopen.

“What about when grandma come to pick them up? What about when they come in sick? Who’s going to sub that class knowing that class had an infection? It’s simple stuff like that I don’t think people are thinking through,” said Russell.

“We want to do - we just want them to be safe when they do go back.” said Tucker.

Tucker says she would like to see the start of school pushed back to January, until there can be more input from the community and educators on making sure schools are safe to reopen.

The AEA has released its own list of of expectations for local school systems when considering school reopening plans.

AEA has a membership of more than 85,000 education employees.

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