Teachers speak out about Gov. Justice’s school reopening plan


CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Teachers are speaking out about West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s plan to reopen schools in the Mountain State.

“If the governor has no clearer guidance on the school reopening at this point, we do not believe any counties will be prepared to safely reopen schools on Sept. 8, 2020.

Fred Albert, AFT-West Virginia President 

The AFT-West Virginia and West Virginia School Service Personnel were sharply critical of Gov. Jim Justice’s plan announced Wednesday to reopen schools throughout the state Sept. 8, 2020.

“They have to follow the science and the facts and quit playing politics with the press conferences.”

Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association

While lauding Justice’s plan to add 1,000 wi-fi hotspots to enhance virtual learning they seriously question other parts of the plan.

The question the spacing of desks at just three feet and say there appears to be no effort to reduce class sizes in order to accomplish even this in rooms that are poorly ventilated and small.

“We’re not so much concerned about the date. They need to invest and they need to make it as safe as it can possibly be.”

Joe White, executive director of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association

They say they want to see the specific health matrix the state will use to determine whether a school is safe. They say the color-coded system, while nice, probably couldn’t be understood by any parent or teacher right now.

They say they want to see concrete, specific details so that families can make the decisions they need.

While the national president of AFT has said teachers may strike in order to support good back-to-school plans, Albert at this time says there are no plans to do so and he is not recommending any teachers do.

“We want to be back. There’s nothing we want more than to be with our students. But we want to make sure they’re in a safe place.”

Fred Albert, AFT-West Virginia President 

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