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Lafayette Parish teachers express concerns about returning to the classroom

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 14:28:11-04

"We might need to reconsider the virtual option even if the governor doesn't put us back in Phase 1. Louisiana is number one and within Louisiana region four is number one and that's scary," said Julia Reed.

Some teachers in Lafayette Parish say they are uncomfortable returning to the classroom.

Wednesday, the board agreed to start school next month following a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning. With the board's decision, it essentially means back to school next month for teachers.

Some are worried about their health and the health of their students. The Lafayette Parish Association of Educators is still evaluating its next course of action.

"It's not getting any better, it just seems to be getting worse," said Julia Reed.

Julia Reed teaches seventh grade in the district, but she's also president of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators.

The group represents a quarter of Lafayette Parish School System employees, and Julia says many, like herself, have concerns.

"If a kid passes away, it's like losing your own child and it's also really with to deal with the kids when they loose someone under normal circumstances. We really worry about that too. It's really a multi-factor of things. We worry about ourselves, our family, our students, and our students' families," said Reed.

When asked if LPAE would participate in any teacher strikes or if they would pursue legal action with the school board, Reed said that isn't the association's intent.

"We're urging just for a push-back or virtual school. We do want kids in school in some form. Strikes keep kids out of school and we don't want that."

"I do believe in my heart that it's not going to come to that," she said of any potential legal action.

Instead, the LPAE is looking to remain diplomatic in its approach.

"I think we're going to try to advocate as long as number keep going up. I think we're still going to advocate for a change to virtual or a push-back to the start of school because things are changing everyday. We do have at least one more school board meeting before the start of school," said Reed.

The board will finalize its reopening plans at the next board meeting on August 5th.

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