Mass. teachers union: Remote learning in fall unless building safety can be ensured

BOSTON (WHDH) - The president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association said she is in favor of an agreement with state education officials to delay the start of school by up to ten days to give school districts time to prepare — but said remote learning is the plan unless buildings can be made safe.

Until then, MTA president Merrie Najimy says the state teachers’ union board of directors supports starting school with remote learning only.

“Every building needs to be inspected for environmental health and safety standards, specifically looking at ventilation systems,” Najimy said. “We are getting an outpouring of support and thank you from parents who are frightened to death. They share the same fears that educators share that going back into the buildings is putting our lives on the line.”

And beyond safety, teachers will need that extra time to figure out how to create lesson plans that deal remote learning, Najimy said.

“We have to plan for how to welcome our students back in the fall… assess their wellness,” Najimy said. “But we also need to look at how do we design a curriculum to reconnect, reengage and excite our students in a way that we weren’t able to do last spring.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says the city is considering a hybrid model that would assign students to groups and bring them into schools on a rotating basis, but no matter what model is chosen, he says the city will have a plan for all online learning if necessary.

At a press conference Tuesday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he would make safety a priority after he was asked about school nurses, who are expected to rally tomorrow over complaints they’ve been left out of the reopening process. But Walsh said he expected schools to open “at some point.”

“At some point we’e going to have to reopen school,” Walsh said. “Whether that’s September 10th , October 10th, November 10th December 10th, whatever it is.”

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