The Northern Tioga Educator’s Association is asking the school board to reconsider teachers’ attendance when students aren’t learning in person.

“If the students are home, it makes no sense for teachers to come in,” said Chris Collum, NTEA president, during the board’s virtual meeting Nov. 9. “Nothing beats face-to-face teaching, of course, but when bringing in teachers puts them at some kind of risk, we should reevaluate.”

Collum thanked the district for its precautions in keeping students safe, but said teachers could also be exposed if required to come in during remote learning. He also said classrooms can’t be deep cleaned while teachers are working in them.

The NTEA also has concerns about teachers’ attendance during Flexible Instruction Days, said Collum. FIDs are offered when in-person teaching can’t occur so districts can still meet the required 180 days of instruction per school year. Collum said, however, that teachers have been told if FIDs are used on snow days, they may still have to report to work.

“In the situation of a normal snow day, teachers don’t have to report,” he said. “If students aren’t in school on FIDs, why should teachers be required to come in during hazardous weather?”

Collum said as the pandemic ramped up in the spring, district teachers learned techniques for remote learning, including the use of Google Classrooms. He said arrangements could be made for any teacher without quality internet service or a device such as a computer or tablet at home.

“It’s like we’re telling teachers, ‘You can’t do your job from home,’ but let me tell you, we can,” he said. “I hope we take a look at where we are and evaluate whether this is in the best interest of students and staff.”

Also at its meeting Nov. 9, the board:

  • Approved tenure for Abby Brown, guidance counselor at Williamson High School.
  • Accepted the resignations of Jennifer Barley, teacher aide at R.B. Walter Elementary School and Kelly Lowe, cafeteria aide at R.B. Walter and Williamson High School.
  • Accepted the retirement of Carol Cody, cafeteria aide at R.B. Walter Elementary and Williamson High School, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Recognized Students of the Month: Brianna Glover, Williamson High School; Kenna Thomas, Williamson Middle School; Makayla Vargeson, Cowanesque Valley High School; Judah Mummert, Cowanesque Valley Middle School; Bristol Slaymaker, R.B. Walter Elementary School; Faith Brant, Westfield Area Elementary School; and Riley Stidfole, Clark Wood Elementary School.
  • Announced the next meeting of the school board is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1. The work session on Monday, Nov. 23 is canceled. All meetings are broadcast live on YouTube with links available at www.ntiogasd.org/meeting-schedule. Anyone wishing to address the board during the meeting is required to register at the above link.

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