Shrewsbury teachers push back on district plans to reopen

981

By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – During public participation during the School Committee’s Aug. 19 meeting, held at Town Hall, Shrewsbury High School teacher Tim Scheer, addressed the committee with his concerns over the district’s reopening plans, which will be a hybrid model. Scheer spoke on behalf of 125 Shrewsbury Public School educators and community members who submitted a letter to the Committee which they received prior to the meeting.

“It is our belief that the current plan is at best too incomplete to move forward with and at worst a potential catalyst for a public health disaster within our community,” he said.

Their primary concern was that the plan did not adequately protect the health and safety of the school community’s stakeholders.

“We feel strongly that anytime in person reopening should be based on more global public health metrics considering for example schools in other countries that have reopened safely…” he continued.

He referenced the lack of opportunities for public engagement with the community before the plan was approved as well as the fact that faculty and staff come from other communities that might have a higher rate of infection than Shrewsbury.

Scheer then said that the plan disregards the fact that children can spread the virus just as easily as adults.

“The plan does not clearly and specifically address enough measures to mitigate the aerosol of the virus. The plan gave only a vague assessment of the school ventilation systems…” he continued.

In addition to the need for more community engagement, Scheer recommended that the committee revisit the hybrid model and look closely at a full remote opening with a phased in, in-person approach until a safer plan is identified.

Sandra Fryc, School Committee Chair, thanked Scheer for his time and presentation and reminded the Committee and viewing audience that they are always open and welcoming of public comment.

She noted that 145 staff members did participate in the reopening planning.

The first day of work for SPS staff is Monday, Aug. 31 and the first day of school for students is Tuesday, Sept. 15.