MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Anoka-Hennepin School District will present its plan Monday night for starting the year with a hybrid learning model.
Ahead of that school board meeting, members of the teacher’s union and its supporters held a rally.
They called for a plan that prioritizes safety, as well as better communication regarding the details and logistics of that plan.
Kaia Hirt teaches English at Champlin Park High School.
She feels teachers, administrators and all parties want a safe learning environment, but she says there hasn’t been enough transparency.
“Do we know that the buildings have proper ventilation?” Hirt said. “Do we know at the secondary level how we’re going to deal with passing time? the lunchroom? school buses?”
The district’s put out a 32-page “Return to School Roadmap” that details different learning models and health and safety guidelines.
A spokesperson for Anoka-Hennepin said in an email that several “best practice” precautions have been implemented, including face coverings, hand sanitizer, proper ventilation, frequent disinfecting and contact tracing.
He also said union leaders and teachers had an active voice in creating those plans.
Some in the union feel the safety of people of color isn’t being adequately addressed.
“Black, indigenous people of color are at a higher risk for contracting COVID, at a higher risk for dying from the virus, and so I definitely worry about that,” Hirt said.
Hirt says she’s committed to giving her students the best possible education, but she’ll have to weigh her decision to teach with what’s best for her own family.
“I don’t think that I should have to choose between the health and safety of myself and my own family versus my career,” she said. “I want to be able to do both of those things and I want to know the district is helping me to do that.”
County health data would support Anoka-Hennepin’s choice for a hybrid model.
The district says one in four parents still have chosen distance learning for their children.
Here is the full statement from the school district:
Anoka-Hennepin has been working on a plan to open school in the hybrid learning format and will present that recommendation [Monday night]. The district has implemented all “best practice” health and safety precautions including social distancing, face coverings, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer, ensuring proper ventilation, touch-less meal delivery, limiting visitors the building, frequent disinfection of high-touch areas in the buildings using hospital-grade disinfectant, professional contact tracing and monitoring, classroom cleaning kits, and more. The district is following the guidance of the MN Safe Schools Plan with procedures to keep school safe and healthy and for direction on the learning model. In our district. Union leaders and teachers were at the table when these plans were being created and had an active voice in their development. In addition, 1 out of 4 parents have selected distance learning for their student and the recommendation to open in hybrid is supported by the county health data.