Denver Public School teachers and parents consider the pros and cons of remote learning amid staffing shortages – CBS Denver

DENVER (CBS4)– There are many different opinions on whether the Denver Public Schools District should return to remote learning due to the high number of COVID-19 cases surging in the state, and for many teachers on the front line, they feel they are not heard by district officials.

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“Teachers are set on fire,” said Tim Hernández, a teacher at North High School. “And teachers need systems that are ready to take us out of this fire, into the water, whatever we need to do to deliver the best version of education.”

Hernández said that while the school district wants teachers to continue teaching amid growing pandemic concerns, the administration isn’t listening to their concerns.

“We need a virtual learning break, and we need systems that are inherently based on the safety of our communities,” Hernández said. “We need to make sure we can do things to keep our children and our teachers safe.”

Over the past two weeks, nearly two dozen teacher absences have been reported at Knapp Elementary School. A Knapp teacher, who did not want to be identified, told CBS4 that most absences are COVID-related. And Knapp isn’t the only school facing these issues. In a statement, a district spokesperson said, “Many of our schools are facing the same shortages as Knapp.”

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The Denver Classroom Teachers Association said that while it knows in-person learning is best for students, with the current rise in cases in the state, teachers are struggling.

“We’ve heard that some teachers have left and then they have to double up, they have to split the class and bring in other teachers and cover it for that period, and cover it for the next period,” Rob Gould said. , the president of the DCTA. “What I hear from educators is that the decisions that are made downtown are that ‘we have to keep the schools open no matter what’. And what’s happening is we’re putting together piecemeal, and students don’t really get the education they deserve.

Gould said if the district doesn’t want to move entirely to remote learning, schools should be able to independently decide whether they want to stay open, based on their covid situation. But Dr. Alex Marrero, the district superintendent, said he is committed to keeping schools open for in-person learning despite rising cases and staffing shortages. And mother Erika Quiñones agrees with the district, saying the latest period of remote learning has stalled her son’s growth and that planning has been difficult for her as a single mom.

“I fear he will fall behind,” Quiñones said. “Emotionally, he didn’t take it well and I don’t want him to get discouraged. The last time we did remote learning, he started to lose confidence in his abilities.

(credit: Getty Images)

Gould and Hernandez said currently the district hasn’t really provided educators with a plan for how they’re mitigating the virus in schools. They said many schools aren’t getting the right resources, like masks and testing at all schools.

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