MONROE, NC – Daphne Cook, a Second Grade Teacher, saw the idea on one of her teachers of Union County Facebook pages: a Motor March in support of a re-evaluation of Union County’s plan on how to re-open schools this fall.
“The two plans that were given to parents to choose from were Plan B – students would be assigned one day a week for in-person instruction, teachers would be physically in school Monday through Thursday with a few students each day from their class roster, and Fridays will be remote for all students and staff,” describes Cook. “Teachers are expected to teach in person, virtually with planned videos, as well as everything else that comes with preparing to be physically in school. The second option for families was Plan D – a virtual academy for any families that do not want their child to attend in person at all. This plan was only offered to 2nd-12th grades. Not every teacher has the choice to be a virtual teacher.”
The teachers on the Facebook page are disappointed with this plan. Cook explains, “What is lacking from Plan B is that teachers were not given a choice whether they were comfortable to physically come into the building to teach or decide to work remotely. There is so much unknown with COVID that there is the fear of teachers getting sick or getting a loved one sick by being exposed.” Cook continued, “I would love for Union County to go full remote for all students and staff until our numbers decrease and we have a better grip on COVID and how it will affect school-age children. It’s too soon.”
The March was on Monday, August 3, 2020, at 7:30 am in Monroe, NC. Participants were encouraged to dress in red and decorate their vehicles in red as well. Unfortunately, Cook was unable to attend this event because she wasn’t feeling well that morning. While she doesn’t think it was anything serious, she still chose to stay home to protect the other teachers who were able to attend, and she still cares deeply about the issues that the March addressed.
However, the teachers need more people to speak up if they agree that the plans need to be re-evaluated. Everyone should consider reaching out to the board of education to express their concerns for the safety of not only their own children but all school employees – teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, administration, and others. The most up to date information about school re-openings, board members, and more can be found at https://www.ucps.k12.nc.us/
“I can only speak for myself where I can tell you that I want to be in my classroom,” finishes Cook. “I want to see and hug my students and get to know them all and their families in the way that we have always done it. But COVID has taken that away from us, and as a teacher, I am not any less effective if I teach from home than from school. All I want is to be given the choice to work in a worry-free environment. I care for my students as if they are my own. Their safety, as well as mine, is so important. We are for the first time in my life seeing and dealing with a virus that has no vaccination nor have we seen what it would be like to have COVID and flu all at once. The bottom line is it is scary, and I am not sure it is worth the risk of our children, educators, families, and communities.”