MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some Twin Cities teachers are calling for changes to keep everyone safe in school.
Minneapolis and St. Paul teachers rallied Wednesday for better Internet access for their students, reduce staffing rates, and resume pay at risk before moving to the hybrid learning model.
The Minneapolis Public School District says it will continue to work with union leaders. Here is the district statement:
The global pandemic has created very difficult circumstances for our students, families and employees. MPS is doing its best to keep students and staff safe, while also making sure we do the best we can to meet our students’ academic needs.
Although MPS does not see the need for formal bargaining at this time, we are committed to continuing and deepening our continued collaboration and problem-solving with our union partners on COVID 19 pandemic issues. To this end, MPS has multiple meetings regular and ongoing with MFT and ESP unions to ensure that they have the latest updates on activities and issues that could impact their members.
- Monthly meetings with MFT and ESP leadership, superintendent, and senior leadership team
- Biweekly phone calls with all union leaders, superintendent and senior leadership
- Multiple contract administration meetings per month
- Thematic meetings in progress with the trade unions
In addition, MPS union leaders are members, along with educators, students and family members, of the district’s 5 Stages for Safe Learning Advisory Committee. MPS will turn to this group for feedback on models and designs and how to move the dial safely and fairly.
St. Paul Public Schools claims to have effective protocols in place. Superintendent Dr Joe Gothard released this statement on Wednesday evening:
I am disappointed that SPFE leadership is in opposition to our students returning to the classroom. While our families are demanding that SPPS switch to hybrid learning, our teacher’s union is delaying our ability to do so.
The best place for both students and educators is in the classroom. My team and I have been focused on making it happen safely since March. I struggled with a learning lag in person so that we could ensure we had strict health and safety protocols in place. We also established a comprehensive list of 24 readiness goals, 23 of which were met. We don’t need additional funding to start hybrid learning, we need our staff to come back. Our returning workforce is the only availability target that we haven’t met to date.
Hundreds of SPPS staff members have been safely engaged in in-person work with students for months; at our Essential Kids Care and Discovery Club child care locations. We have demonstrated the effectiveness of our protocols.
Families who choose not to return for hybrid learning have the option of selecting our virtual learning school for their students. No student will be forced to return to class.
We are working towards reaching the final Readiness Target so that we can begin Phase 1 of hybrid learning on October 19th. We are evaluating our availability weekly and will be reporting on our progress again this Friday.
We also have transition days supported by the minnesota Department of Education’s safe learning plan. Once our Phase 1 start date is confirmed, we will plan with our educators to ensure they receive transition planning time during these transition days.
Let’s be clear: our families, our students and our community, along with the leadership of SPPS, all want our students and educators to return to the classroom as soon as they are safe. That time has come. The demands to “slow down” do not put the needs of our students and families first.
I would ask the leadership of SPFE to encourage staff to report under our hybrid learning transition plan. Like hundreds of thousands of schools and districts around the world that are currently in some form of hybrid learning, SPPS is ready.
READ MORE: “You can make a plan but you can’t plan everything”: teachers prepare for a socially distant school year