COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Parents in the Columbus City School District are working to figure out their back-to-school plans with the first day of class just 12 days away.
The district and the teachers’ union have reached a stalemate when it comes to contract negotiations. The union is taking steps towards a potential strike and the district put forth an alternative return to the school plan that includes remote learning if teachers choose to strike.
NBC4’s Karina Cheung spoke to parents who say they’re considering if they’ll send their kids to school at this point. Several parents question if remote learning is the right way to start the school year and other says if a strike does happen, their child will not attend the first day of class online.
“Immediately I dropped my phone, and I was so upset,” said Kelli Mallow. That was Mallow’s first reaction to hearing about Columbus City School’s alternative plan to open the school year.
Remote learning is how the district would hold classes if there was a teacher’s strike. Mallow said as soon as she heard remote learning would be a possibility, she talked to her husband.
“I told him this can’t happen because I don’t think that our kids actually get to learn that way — they’re very distracted by home life,” Mallow explained.
The district and the teacher’s union are currently at odds when it comes to a new teacher’s contract. The Columbus Education Association filed its notice of intent to strike and picket Thursday since Wednesday’s contract negotiation meeting ended with no agreement.
“Our entire childcare plan was relying on schools being back in session this year, gonna have to probably rely on grandmother daycare,” said Patrick Barnacle, who has a rising second grader.
He says he stands with teachers and if they strike, he will too. Barnacle says if a strike is authorized his student will not be logging on for remote learning.
“There’s no world in which that I think it’s right for us to cross a picket line and not be in unity with the teachers,” Barnacle said.
Mallow says she also supports teachers in their fight for a new contract. She’s considering her options when it comes to the first day of class and is still holding on to hope that the district and union will schedule a bargaining session and reach an agreement.
“I mean all of them, take deep breaths and re-look at the negotiations because I mean I’m not in any of their situations but I don’t see that they’re asking for too much, so I think they need to think about what they’re doing and the impact it’s going to have,” said Mallow.
The union will make its decision on whether or not it will declare an official strike on the Aug. 21 — three days before the first day of class.