PLAINFIELD – Plainfield educators plan to take their questions about the start of the new school year to the public and to the Plainfield School District 202 administrative offices. Thursday morning, teachers plan to stand six feet apart, wearing masks and holding signs with questions they’d like the Plainfield Board of Education (BOE) to answer about safety protections related to COVID-19 and the new school year.
“There are far too many unanswered questions for us to resume in-person learning at this point. We know COVID-19 cases are rising both here at home and all across the country,” Association of Plainfield Teachers (APT) President Dawn Bullock said. “We don’t have all the proper resources, like PPE and masks, in stock yet. And, quite frankly, after the board rejected the return to school plan, we don’t even have a plan in place to begin working on.”
Thursday morning’s action comes after the BOE voted down a return-to-learning plan, supported by APT, at a special meeting on July 20.
“We want to start the year in remote learning, so we can give the district valuable time to make sure we have the safest possible environment for staff and students. If we begin remotely and staff chooses to work from their classrooms, custodial staff will have the opportunity to run the safety plan and see where changes need to be implemented,” Bullock said.
The APT polled its membership and 76 percent of those who responded want to start the year remotely. The plan supported by APT would have instituted remote learning at the start of the school year and continued through the end of the first quarter.
“We are concerned about our students’ health and our educators’ health. We are talking about a life and death decision. Our plan needs to save lives and protect all our students and all our educators and staff,” Bullock said. “The plan APT put together was well received by administrators, parents and teachers. I am not sure why there are members of the board who don’t agree and are choosing not to put our students’ and staff’s safety first.”
APT represents more than 1,800 teachers, social workers, psychologists, speech and language pathologists, vision itinerants, hearing itinerants and certified school nurses within the Plainfield School District. There are 26,495 students who currently are enrolled in 31 Plainfield schools.
The next Plainfield School Board meeting is Thursday night.
Thursday morning’s action starts at 8:30 a.m. outside the Plainfield School District office (15732 Howard St., Plainfield). Any news outlets attending the rally are asked to wear a mask and follow the Centers for Disease Control and the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.