Michigan teachers ask Governor Whitmer to suspend in-person instruction for all schools

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 6:47 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There is a growing frustration among teachers in districts planning to hold in-person classes.

Many of them say administrators aren’t listening to their safety concerns, so they turned to the government on Thursday.

Online saves lives.

That’s the message dozens of teachers sent to governor Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday.

They’re asking her to suspend in-person instruction this fall.

Although coming from different school districts, dozens of teachers on the capitol lawn say they share fear, worry, and frustration for the schools that are returning to some form of in-person instruction.

“My son has a lung disease it scares me to return to school and have him or me exposed and bring it back to him,” said Jennifer Garcia, a PE teacher for Ann Arbor Schools.

“We are already being asked to use our bodies as a physical shield if there is an active shooter, now we are facing an invisible threat,” added a local teacher from a Mid-Michigan school that wishes to remain anonymous.

Many at the rally applaud the Governors’ decision to close all face-to-face learning back in the spring, but now these Michigan teachers are frustrated that Whitmer’s Safe Schools Road map leaves it up to school districts to make the decision.

“We are only as safe as the community next door to us,” said Hussein Beydoun, a Founding member of MI CORE. “If our schools are remote but our neighbors next door to us isn’t. There is going to be community spread because they are so many people in such close contact so we need Whitmer to do what she did in March with closing the schools down until we have COVID under control.

The union MI CORE is also using Thursday’s rally to demand more funding to protect school communities either by remote or in-person environments.

“I demand that crisis of the families that are trying to make online work be solved by the government,” said McKenzie Sato, a Detroit teacher.

“We already have a teacher shortage, who is going to fill those positions if teachers are coming down with it?” asked Beydoun. “I sympathize with our school districts who don’t have a lot of options if they are not receiving the funding to adjust this problem.”

News 10 have reached out to the Governor’s office for a statement on the protest.

We will have an update if we get a response.

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