DENVER (CBS4) – Dozens of teachers protested school reopening plans at a car parade Monday afternoon. Many teachers who attended the protests had different opinions on when school should return, but collectively, they agreed there’s not enough scientific data to support a safe reopening plan right now.
“We must fight back and demand that the safety of our teachers, employees, students, and our community outweigh the political pressure to reopen schools,” said Denver Classroom Teachers Association President Tiffany Choi, who is also a French teacher in the Denver Public Schools System.
Choi said her union appreciates Denver Public Schools’ recent change to hold off on in-person learning until October, but wants to ensure that when the district does go back to in-person learning, there is enough scientific data to prove it’s safe to do so.
“We know that the first requirement to open schools is to have COVID community spread under control, so this is why we demand data triggers that will give the green light to open buildings safely,” Choi said.
Some teachers at the car parade, like Morgan Jameson, a speech pathologist in DPS, believe the district should hold off on in-person learning until Denver has 14 straight days of no new cases.
“You’re asking the adults to put themselves at risk for the sake of their kid, and same for the teacher, you’re asking the teacher to put themselves at risk for the sake of their kid,” Jameson said.
Other teachers told CBS4 they would like to see the district wait until cases are at least trending downward for 14 straight days.
“It’s scary,” said Carolann Skeatz, a physical education teacher in DPS. “It’s scary for me as a parent, it’s scary for me as an educator, and it’s scary for my kids who I work with every day.”
Regardless of the mixed opinions, many feel Denver Public Schools’ goal of starting back in-person in October is just too soon.
“I would feel more comfortable if we said January,” Skeatz said. “Let’s do one semester online, and commit to it, so families like mine are able to plan ahead.”
The Denver Public School System was not available for an on-camera interview Monday, but sent a written statement to CBS4 that reads:
“We are so appreciative of our educators for their advocacy and attention on the safety and health of our Denver Public Schools community, as this remains the top priority in our planning for a safe return to in-person learning. We will continue to work with our health experts and partners to determine what metrics and framework will allow for us to safely open our buildings to staff and students. From the start of remote learning, DCTA leaderhip has been included in our planning work with our trusted medical experts. We will continue to collaborate with DCTA leadership, educators, school leaders and the community on a reopening plan that will best serve the community.”