By Christine Mulroney
FRAMINGHAM – Starting last Thursday, educators across the state began to schedule and receive their vaccines. Photos of educators across the state appeared on social media. In every one of those pictures is a proud, excited educator doing their part to commit to a full in person return with students and in minimizing the spread of this disease.
Ideally, educators would like to push a full opening back until after April break to allow more time for more educators, bus drivers, custodians and
food service staff to get fully vaccinated. But we are preparing for the full return.
DESE has determined that elementary schools need to fully return in person on April 5th. This is a challenging task for districts. In order to allow for a full return, 6 feet of social distance between students will be unlikely.
The FTA and the (School) Committee agree that while we aspire to 6 feet of social distancing, there will likely be classrooms that there will be less than 6 feet of social distancing between students. The FTA and the Committee agree that alternative spaces may need to be explored. And we agree that the safety of staff and students remains our top priority.
Personally I am asking every parent to consent to have their student be part of the pool testing. This is not a mitigating factor if we have low participation.
Weekly pool testing of students along with weekly PCR testing for staff will really help in minimizing the spread of COVID 19 and it is especially imperative that you participate now more than ever now that we will have so many returning. Please sign the consent today.
One thing that needs to be recognized is that the current model of instruction during hybrid, the concurrent model, that has some students in person and some students on a zoom or google meet will look very different when a classroom is full of in person students. The remote experience will not be the same. It can’t be the same. Educators will have in person responsibilities of classroom management and instruction that will make the remote experience different. This needs to be acknowledged.
There is no way to have a hybrid, concurrent instructional model when you have a classroom full of students in person.
The FTA has several ideas about addressing this and we welcome the discussion so that our students who choose to stay remote get the quality experience they deserve.
So Framingham community, will you join FPS educators in reducing the spread of COVID 19 in our schools? Will you wear masks and encourage social
distancing? And will you commit to signing your students up for pool testing? By doing this we are truly partners in supporting that students stay healthy and in school.
Christine Mulroney is the Framingham Teachers Association President.