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Aspen teachers group digs in on reopening plan, says 45% of staff considering ‘taking leave or resigning’

The district superintendent had presented a plan to reopen schools on Oct. 26.
Credit: Kelsey Brunner

ASPEN, Colo. — On a night the Aspen School District superintendent presented the newest plan to reopen the schools on Oct. 26, a teachers group countered with a petition of demands that, if not met, could result in some faculty members leaving their jobs.

That is what Marnie White, speaking on behalf of the Aspen Education Association, suggested when saying that “45 percent of staff is considering taking leave or resigning” under the plan Superintendent David Baugh described to the Board of Education at its meeting Monday.

RELATED: Districts utilize online dashboards to provide details about COVID-19 in schools

The AEA’s petition was presented to Baugh and the five members of the Board of Education roughly 10 to 15 minutes before the beginning of the meeting that went nearly four-and-a-half hours due to talk primarily driven by repercussions from the pandemic that closed classrooms across the country in March. White said the petition had 169 signatures, though board member Katy Frisch questioned whether they were all actually teachers’ names.

After a first quarter of online learning, the ASD plans to open classrooms in its middle and high schools Oct. 26 under a hybrid model, with students alternating their in-person learning with remote learning though weekly cohorts.

The elementary school started a two-day cohort system Sept. 8, and it would reopen fully Oct. 26 under the latest plan. Elementary students will remain restricted to their class groups with interaction with students outside their cohorts not permitted.

RELATED: Aurora delays in-person learning for high school students due to rise in COVID-19 cases

The school district’s reopening plan, as Baugh said, is informed by guidelines from local, state and federal health and educational resources including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Pitkin County Health.

Read the full story here from the Aspen Times

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