West Virginia teachers voice concerns on back-to-school safety

West Virginia

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) School districts across the mountain state are continuing to prepare for the start of school which is currently scheduled for Sept. 8, 2020.

While the parents have voiced concerns on student safety, the teachers are also chiming in with concerns of their own.

Cabell County American Federation of Teachers Local 6340 president Amy Neal says they have heard concerns from teachers with underlying health problems.

Neal says the biggest concern is the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19.

We’re really worried about the social distancing of the children and especially the elementary school children. Will they keep their masks on, will they come? What happens if a child gets exposed while in your classroom. What do we do with that teacher?

Amy Neal, Cabell County AFT Local 6340 president

The Cabell County school district is working to accommodate those at risk by offering options to stay with remote learning or be in the classroom.

Cabell County superintendent Ryan Saxe sent out a poll to all the district teachers asking them what they would prefer.

You as a classroom teacher or you as a teacher would you want to come back five days a week face to face or do you like teaching the remote and would you feel more comfortable with the remote learning.

Amy Neal, Cabell County AFT Local 6340 president

Neal also says for those who have health issues, all they would need to do is provide a note from their primary care physician explaining the direct health and wellness risk.

Every Cabell County faculty member and school official will be given a face mask and face shields will be provided to classroom teachers. But even with these safety guidelines in place, some are choosing to stay at home and avoid the risk.

Neal says even if the school board allows some teachers to work from home, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice will have the final word on if they will be forced to work in the classroom.

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