The Manteca Educators Association is planning a rally to protest the Manteca Unified school board decision to reopen schools.
The event being called a Social Distancing Safety Rally is taking place this Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Manteca Unified main office, 2271 W. Louise Ave.
MEA President Ken Johnson in a letter printed on Page A5 of today’s Bulletin said teachers will be wearing red shirts to “demonstrate their solidarity.
Johnson noted, “We will be demonstrating to the school board what safety means to us by wearing face masks and standing 6 feet apart.”
For weeks the MEA has been pushing the school board to abandon its June decision to return to school Aug. 6 with basically the same pre-pandemic school day format with a number of COVID-19 protocols in place. The MEA favored split morning and afternoon sessions that would have allowed the number of students in a given classroom per teacher to be cut in half. Typically that would mean 17 students.
On Monday, in the face of a surge in COVID-19 cases the board switched from its June decision to pursue instead an alternating day model where on any given day only half of the students would be on campus at any given time which is essentially the same numerical bottom line of the AM/PM schedule they have been advocating in letters to the editor and on social media.
Apparently the COVID-19 case surge has also caused a shift in the MEA position as they now are questioning the wisdom of the alternating day plan that accomplishes the same student reduction in classrooms as the AM/PM split sessions would.
Johnson, on behalf of the MEA, stressed their belief that “the safest and cautious approach right now is to implement They want students to learn at school when the safest and cautious approach right now is to implement distance Learning. All of the teachers including myself would rather be back at school with our students, but it just isn’t safe right now for anyone.”
He also noted the county health department and the County Superintendent of Schools “strongly recommend that local schools begin the new school year providing only distance learning instruction through at least the end of August, 2020.”
“It is unbelievable and morally unforgiveable that they are using our beloved students, our most precious resource, our future, as guinea pigs,” Johnson noted in his letter.
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