Teachers association says teachers have mixed feelings on returning to school safely

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Some will say it takes a lot to keep teachers out of the classroom. It’s these very people along with their students and families that face risks as schools prepare to reopen.

Uniserv is an education association and is actively working with Alabama school districts to make sure their COVID-19 plans best serve students but also the staff and teachers that help develop our future generations.

“We will see plans where the school districts, we believe, that are taking more steps than you might expect them to in ensuring safety of their employees. I would put the school systems up in your area, Huntsville, Madison County, Madison city, in that category,” said Willliam Tunnell, a manager for Uniserv.

Districts are rolling out various options for their students. Including in class, digital and staggered lesson plans. Huntsville City Schools among other districts in Madison County will discuss their plans Thursday.

Begging the question, how do teachers in these districts feel about returning to the classroom?

“You can talk to 25 teachers and a small group will tell you I’m ready to go back. Other people will tell you I’m scared to death. I’m absolutely scared to death. I don’t think there’s anything we can do,” said Tunnell.

Uniserv says some school districts in Alabama have essentially given up on coming up with a plan that best serves their communities. Most, if not all school districts would object to speaking directly to one of their teachers on subjects like this.

The CDC recently released their suggested guidance to school districts, only to have President Trump reject the guidance. The suggestions included things like mandatory masks, staggered schedules, backup staffing plans and physical barriers. The CDC is expected to generate another set of suggestions by next week following backlash from the President.

The messaging from Washington D.C. has been fairly straightforward: schools need to open no matter what.

“Not many school systems will see more than 20 percent of their funding from the federal government. I”m ball-parking that. I recognize the opinions from Washington D.C. are important, but these are local decisions,” said Tunnell.

WHNT will be following several local school board meetings on Thursday. Stay tuned for updates on-air and online.

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