Revere Teachers Association (RTA) First Vice President Charlene Logue announced this week that the RTA has signed on to an open letter by educators North of Boston and Greater Boston communities that recently formed the North of Boston Educator Action Network (NoBEAN) representing over 10,000 educators across the region.
The letter, which was obtained by the Revere Journal from Logue, is calling for a gradual ‘phased-in’ approach to to reopen schools in the fall both in Revere and across the region.
“Educators continue to grapple with weighing the benefits of in-person instruction versus the health and safety standards needed to return to classrooms and campuses,” the letter reads. “Faced with a pandemic that is actively spreading to children, teens, and adults, we know that it is not safe to return to in-person learning at this time.”
In the letter, members of NoBEAN are recommending districts and campuses return to learning in September with a gradual phased-in approach that is tied to public health and safety benchmarks.
“The safe return to learning in September must be guided by science–not by a school calendar,” the letter continues. “We are calling upon all public schools to begin the school year with a comprehensive distance learning plan that has the potential to graduate to a hybrid learning model. The graduation from the distance learning phase to a hybrid phase must be defined within each local district using public health benchmarks, a thorough evaluation of the buildings to ensure they are safe places for learning, and investment to make necessary improvements.”
The educators that signed on to the letter agree Revere cannot risk a premature return to in-person learning that will result in educators, students, or their families getting sick and dying. “In order to protect the health and safety of our communities, we must direct our energy at the development of high-quality distance learning,” the letter continues. “It is imperative for educators to be involved in the decision-making process at both the local and state level.”
The group said while much is uncertain right now it is crystal clear that when in-person instruction begins, students will need more educators to support them.
“A safe return to learning includes resourcing all schools with enough educators and education support professionals so students have class sizes that enable the safe, one-to-one interaction they need for both their social-emotional and educational needs,” the letter continues. “Now, more than ever, the Commonwealth must commit to fully funding public schools so that local school districts can recover from this public health crisis by funding the schools their communities need. As educators, we are advocating for a return to in-person learning that is guided by science, educational best practice, and the health and safety of our students and educators. The stakes have never been higher. Not one single person should get sick or die because we opened our doors prematurely. The only acceptable death count is zero.
During an Executive Board meeting recently a motion was passed unanimously that the RTA will recommend Revere Public Schools implement a phased in approach to reopening schools in the fall and begin the school year with remote teaching.
Revere Public School Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly said districts are required to develop three separate plans – one for return to full in-person instruction with safety requirements, one for full remote learning, and one for hybrid learning that combines in-person and remote.
Kelly said RPS’s main priority in all decision making will focus on the safety
of its staff and students and Revere would only return to in person instruction either hybrid or fully if it can do so safely.