Upper Arlington teachers work to rule after full in-person learning goes ahead for March 1

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Upper Arlington High School sign

A sign marks the front entrance to Upper Arlington High School in Upper Arlington, Ohio, on Jan. 28, 2021. (Ben Orner/NBC4)

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — The 542 teachers, counselors, nurses and support staff in Upper Arlington schools are working to rule as part of a response to full in-person learning.

According to the Upper Arlington Education Association Co-President Leslie Watkins, the decision came after the Board of Education decided to return to all-in instruction without a guarantee for maintaining safe social-distancing.

Work to rule means the 542 teachers and staff will work from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday. Tasks that they are not able to complete during the contractual day will wait. The action began on February 22, and has no end date at the moment.

“We are disappointed that the Board has chosen to ignore the recommendations of the CDC and the medical professionals that they chose to lead our district through this health crisis,” Watkins said in a statement.

“The decision to ignore social-distancing guidelines will create safety issues in our buildings. We are deeply concerned for the safety of our students, our staff, and the potential negative impact on the community as a whole.”

Watkins pointed out that the lives of educators revolve around students, and they volunteer uncounted hours beyond their contracts throughout the school year, during weekends, breaks and over the summer.

“With the decision to return to all-in learning on March 1st, it is clear that the Board isn’t taking the safety of our students, this community, or us and our own families seriously. We, however, do take this very seriously,” Watkins said.

“This year more than ever these kids and young-adults have learned patience, strength, perseverance, empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding — and we have learned just as much from them as they have from us. We also hope that they learn the importance of balance and of having limits – that is what we are practicing right now with Work to Rule. It is important that we do this. It is important for our own families and it is important for our students,” Watkins’ statement concluded.

An Upper Arlington School District spokesperson was contacted for a statement, but has not responded at this time.

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