GOLDEN, Colorado — With a little over a month before school starts in Jefferson County, the teachers union launches a call to action entitled, "Recall the Restart."
"As educators, we're really calling on our communities and our parents and our employees to pay attention to what's going on and to get involved and to make their voices heard," Brooke Williams, Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) president, said.
While Jeffco Schools plans to restart in-person learning at buildings across the district, Williams said many teachers have concerns surrounding COVID-19.
"I would say that many educators are scared right now," Williams said. "They're scared for their kids."
JCEA surveyed its 5,500 members with 2,972 responses:
- 43% of teachers preferred a hybrid model of remote learning and some in-person learning
- 32% preferred full-time remote learning
- 18% preferred full-time, in-person learning
Williams said that's why "Recall the Restart" was born three days after Denver Public Schools announced its plans to start the fall semester with full-time remote learning.
"When that was announced, I think it really made us hopeful we could follow Denver's footsteps in just keeping our community safe," Williams said.
Using the word "recall" has meaning in Jefferson County. Five years ago, voters successfully recalled and replaced three conservative school board members after tensions developed between the union and school board.
Williams is looking for the same kind of community movement this time around.
"This was a way to alert them that it's time to get involved," Williams said.
JeffCo Schools issued a statement in response to "Recall the Restart":
We are having conversations every day at the leadership level, as well as talking with JCPH, building leaders, staff, and our employee associations about feedback to our previously announced plan. We appreciate JCEA sharing their newest data from their membership survey. We are continuing to observe conditions as we work towards a decision for the fall. We are monitoring the data about the spread of the virus and decisions made by other school districts, both locally and around the country. We will take the time to process this information in order to make the best decision for students and our community. We anticipate new information, changes in the spread of the virus, and more testing and mitigation guidance to be coming out which will continue to inform our thinking and decision process.
The district and the union will meet at the end of the month to negotiate a solution, Williams said. She acknowledged that if one isn't found, it could lead to a union vote on whether or not to strike.
"I love my students and I will do anything to keep them safe," Williams said.
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