Arkansas High School

Teachers across Arkansas are continuing to express concerns when it comes to returning to class amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We want to be in the classroom, but with what experts are saying and the data, it's not in our favor right now."

KATV spoke with a kindergarten teacher in the Little Rock School District who wished to not be identified. She says many educators disagree with the state's plan to resume in-person learning the week of Aug. 24.

"They're playing with people's lives," she said. "We have a lot of older teachers with a lot of health factors."
 
That's why the Little Rock Education Association came out with their recommendations for re-opening schools on Monday.

"Can you imagine what a child would feel if they lose a friend or a teacher because we return to school too soon?"LREA president Teresa Knapp-Gordon said.

Knapp-Gordon says evidence indicates Arkansas is in a 'red zone' and the potential for exposure has increased in our state.

"Many of our educators are more susceptible to this disease because they have impaired immune systems or they are older in age," she said.

LREA's first phase proposes all instruction to be virtual. The state would move into phase two, which includes a mix of classroom and virtual instruction after the number of cases has been on the decline for two weeks.

Finally, the state would move into regular classroom instruction after the number of cases drops below 50 a day statewide.

"We discovered the phased-in approach and we thought that made a lot of sense because we are not prepared to keep everyone safe in a face-to-face teaching environment," Knapp-Gordon said.

She says many states are using phased-in approaches when it comes to returning to school, and Arkansas should do the same.

"We will not be complicit in putting our students in danger," Knapp-Gordon said.

KATV asked what the LREA would do if these recommendations aren't taken into consideration.

Not many details were given, but Knapp-Gordon hinted at taking part in a national day of action set for Aug. 3.

The Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a statement Tuesday also opposing the state's plan to reopen schools.

The group says schools should only reopen when an area has a downward trajectory for the percentage of positive tests for 14 days.

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