SHERIDAN, Colo. (CBS4)– As kids prepare for the school year, one district is still planning to head back for in-person learning on Monday. But teachers in the Sheridan School District No. 2 are expressing their concerns.
Just days before the start school, teachers and staff walked out of school and took to the streets.
“They’re being asked to choose between their livelihood and their very lives,” said Matt Blomquist, a Sheridan High School teacher, and Sheridan Educator Association President. “We feel the opening plan has been rushed without much collaboration from the community or the teachers. This has led to a tremendous amount of fear and insecurity around an already scary thing.”
Students and staff are calling on the district to delay in-person learning by at least two weeks.
“I’m scared for my students, I’m scared for their families, and I’m scared for myself and my families,” said Morgan Murphy, a teacher at Sheridan High School.
Sheridan High School senior Gerardo Avellaneda says he won’t be going into school on Monday. He’s decided on remote learning instead.
“Is it worth opening the schools knowing that another life would be lost?” he told CBS4’s Andrea Flores.
Blomquist understands the frustrations among students and staff.
“Excessive contacts in any one day, not acceptable, eating in classrooms small confined spaces, not acceptable,” Blomquist said.
With the start of a new school year around the corner, Blomquist hopes the district will meet their demands.
“We want to work, we are desperate to be in front of our children, but the idea that we need to do it unsafely, and in a way that will cause an outbreak here at Sheridan? We feel that is completely unnecessary,” said Blomquist.
Blomquist says just this week alone a handful of teachers have already retired, resigned, or asked for leave due to safety concerns. While students have the option to learn remotely, teachers say in-person learning is too risky.
CBS4 reached out to the school district, school board, and the superintendent to ask if they’re willing to reconsider. They declined our request for an interview, but told us they are on track for in-person learning to start as planned on Monday.