Teachers react to Columbus City Schools reopening recommendations

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — This upcoming school year teachers are getting ready for what will likely be a year unlike any other due to the effects of COVID-19. Students, parents, and teachers are all getting ready for it.

“We’re kind of still in limbo wondering how is this all gonna play out,” said Regina Fuentes, a teacher at Eastmoor Academy. “We’re going to make it work. We’re going to do what we have to do. We just want make sure it’s fair for our students and as equal as possible.”  

She’s entering her 22nd year of teaching and along with being a high school English teacher, she’s a senior faculty representative for the Columbus Education Association.  

“What’s expected of one teacher should be expected of all teachers,” she said. “We can’t have teachers bidding against each other about who’s going to teach virtually and who’s going to teach in the classroom.” 

Earlier this week, the district presented a few different options for school this year. One is blended school for Pre-K through 8th grade with students physically in school for two days a week and at home for three days. Another option is a digital academy available for K through 12 in which students would work at their own pace. Remote high school will be available for high school students. It will be like traditional high school but with digital classes.  

“We have to stress: This is a global pandemic,” said Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent of Columbus City Schools. “We cannot go back to opening schools the way they were, and we’re trying to make sure we’re meeting all of the health guidelines and the guidance the governor’s office has provided for us.”

Under the current plans, Fuentes would not see her high school English students in person. She says the health and safety of students are number one for her too and she will do whatever it takes to make sure kids get the best education possible.  

“The whole virtual education thing is kind of a bummer, not just to me but to other teachers as well,” said Fuentes. “But we’re willing to do what we have to do in order to make this machine work for as long as we need to do it.”

The recommendations are still tentative. The district is still waiting to hear about guidance from the state and agreements with the unions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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