The Lewiston teachers’ union issued a news release Friday evening calling their school district’s favored plan for opening later this month “entirely reactive” and not adequate for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The Lewiston School Board approved a three-phase plan in late July for reopening schools. In a letter to parents, Superintendent Bob Donaldson said the “desire is to return to school as normal (in a traditional education setting) with enhanced safety and cleaning procedures,” but also mentioned that adjustments would be made depending on the circumstances.
The plan’s “green phase” — which is preferred by the district — would allow all students to receive face-to-face instruction every day. Students and staff would be encouraged to wear face coverings when in close contact, and each school would develop its own protocols to limit contact.
The Lewiston Education Association’s release Friday said those guidelines “could allow for the greatest spread of COVID-19 our immediate region has seen.” The green phase doesn’t follow recommendations from the Public Health – Idaho North Central District and doesn’t mandate physical distancing, the release said.
A survey of LEA members showed that “teachers want to be back in buildings with students as soon as possible,” but nearly half of the members are in at-risk categories or in regular contact with someone who is.
“Teachers are essential, but not expendable,” the LEA release said. “Members of the Lewiston Education Association do not feel protected under the current plan because it is not safe for all. We have been assured the plan is a framework or living document that can be amended as needed and we are calling on the superintendent and the board to do so in order to ensure adequate safety measures are implemented.”
The Lewiston School Board will next meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the old Lewiston High auditorium, at 1114 Ninth Ave.