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Majority of JCPS teachers hope board will vote to start school year remotely

The JCTA surveyed its members about whether they are ready to return to the classroom; in a two to one ratio, they said they are not.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jefferson County Public Schools board will vote Tuesday on whether school will be in-person or online this fall.

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio recommended online instruction, and most members of the board have indicated they will vote for six weeks of virtual learning.

The Jefferson County Teachers Association surveyed its members at the end of June and got about 4,000 responses.

In a two to one ratio, teachers were not ready to return to the classroom.

JCTA President Brent McKim said it’s possible even more teachers feel that way after COVID-19 case numbers have spiked recently.

Roosevelt-Perry Elementary teacher Tyra Walker wants to be back in the classroom, she says all teachers do, but not until it is safe.

“I don’t feel comfortable, not just for myself but for our kids, because you have a lot of grandparents who are raising kids and great-grandparents who are raising kids,” Walker said.

Walker said most of her coworkers agree. They miss their students and want to see them, but for now, seeing their faces through video chat will have to do.

“We want to see the babies, we do. But we cannot put them in danger with their health,” Walker said.

If the board votes in favor of virtual learning to start the school year, JCTA President Brent McKim said the non-traditional instruction (NTI) will be more structured and similar to a regular classroom.

“We had about three weeks to put together NTI for the spring,” McKim said. “We’ve had about three months to plan for the fall.”

McKim also said going online can save the district money that it can put towards enhancing the virtual learning experience.

“During that six-week period, they don’t have to pay for a lot of fairly expensive personal protective equipment," he said. "And that can be about $2 million that they can use for providing students with Chromebooks, wifi hotspots and other things they need."

While not ideal, the consensus among teachers is online learning is the best option right now for everyone.

“I want us all to make it through this year with no casualties to the coronavirus,” Walker said.

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