Two Teachers Union Presidents call for Gov. Raimondo to pause K-12 in-person learning by Nov. 23

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) – Two teachers union presidents whose unions represent the majority of Rhode Island teachers are calling for “a holiday pause” of in-person learning.

NEARI President Larry Purtill and RIFTHP President Frank Flynn on Monday called for the in-person learning pause for K-12 students to begin statewide by Nov. 23.

The two leaders cite the “alarming rise” in the community spread of COVID-19 in the ocean state as the reason why the switch to distance learning is needed.

Other reasons the two gave in a press release include:

  • Viral caseloads coupled with contact tracing delays
  • Staffing shortages due to quarantines
  • Colder weather arriving and negatively impacting health, safety, and instruction

Both union Presidents say that a temporary move to distance learning statewide is a “common-sense critical step in driving down incidence rates.”

“Rhode Island is experiencing a record-high number of cases and an overwhelmed Department of Health, despite their best efforts, is falling behind with the required contact tracing that ensures effective quarantining and overall safety of students and educators,” said Purtill.

Both Purtill and Flynn are calling on Gov. Gina Raimondo to announce a statewide move to distance learning at her next weekly coronavirus press conference.

In a statement, Rhode Island Department of Health spokesperson, Emily Crowell said “We will continue to work with the Department of Health and our colleagues across state government to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Rhode Island. We know that in-person learning is the best option for our kids and that our schools are following rigorous safety protocols in order to support our students and teachers who are in the classroom. We appreciate the hard work and the dedication of our school leaders across the state, who have continued to meet the educational needs of our students despite challenges and changes.”

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Our Schools, Rhode Island