Little Rock teachers union votes to continue with in-person instruction

Little Rock teachers have decided to continue teaching in the classroom after fighting to be fully virtual.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Little Rock teachers have decided to continue teaching in the classroom after fighting to be fully virtual.

In a two and a half-hour meeting on Labor Day, Little Rock Education Association members voted to continue with in-person instruction despite safety concerns like:

  •     Improper mask-wearing
  •     Lack of social distancing
  •     Lack of complete contact tracing

In a statement, LREA President Teresa Knapp Gordon said:

“We have determined that we need to work diligently to ensure the “LRSD Ready For Learning Plan” is being strictly adhered to throughout every site in the district. Any deviation from the plan will be reported immediately and addressed with the Superintendent. We will hold Administration accountable for strict adherence to the plan that they developed in order to ensure our students and our staff are safe. If the level of safety continues to be a concern, we will meet and take appropriate measures to ensure everyone is safe. LREA remains committed to working collaboratively to solve problems and protect our students and staff.”

At least 16 people have tested positive in the Little Rock School district since school started exactly two weeks ago. But dozens more in multiple schools have been put on quarantine.

Dunbar Middle School will also be closed Tuesday, Sept. 8, because of a staff member who tested positive. Because the district got the information late, it will need additional time to follow up with any potential contacts.

In a statement from the district, it said:

“The Little Rock School District (LRSD) is pleased to hear that the Little Rock Education Association (LREA) has agreed to support in-person instruction for our students. In response to LREA’s concerns, it is essential for us all to follow our Ready for Learning Plan which outlines LRSD’s instructional delivery and protocols. 

The District is absolutely committed to following the plan. Anyone who believes there is a violation of the plan should notify principals or District administration as soon as possible when there are areas of concern. 

We believe that stakeholders are trying their best to adhere to safety measures, including wearing masks, social distancing, and practicing proper sanitization, not only as individuals but in places where there is high traffic. 

We appreciate the continued collaboration that helps us work together to provide educational environments that are safe for our students and staff, and conducive to learning.”