EBR teachers union plans ‘sick out’ Wednesday, push back against COVID-19 protocols

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Some parents and teachers are pushing back against the East Baton Rouge Parish schools COVID-19 protocols. Several schools have shifted to remote learning overtime, while others are remaining in person.

“The school is a much safer environment to keep kids in instead of out of school because we can mitigate not only the protocols but also we can also ensure kids are learning and staying active and those things,” said EBR School System Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse.

Some parents and teachers are concerned with the switching between virtual and in-person learning. Parent Corhonda Corley said remote learning needs to improve, especially for students with disabilities.

“They have to look at making sure that they have the devices that are necessary for the children, but also making sure that they can actually provide the education and related services through the platform in which they choose to use,” said parent Corhonda Corley.

Teacher union EBR Parish Association of Educators (EBRPAE) called on the superintendent to make all schools virtual, extend COVID leave from five to ten days, and allow telework to be done.

“Let’s just make all of them go virtual until the cases come down. Once the case has come down, we can go back with our mitigation in place,” said EBRPAE President Valencea Johnson.

She said the nationwide teacher shortage combined with the omicron variant has become unbearable.

“Even on a regular day that they are combining classes, which the groups are supposed to be static groups in classes, and now they are mixing the kids up because we don’t have enough staff, then they’re mixing them up on the bus because we don’t have enough bus drivers. When is the point going to come that we can no longer do business as usual?” said Johnson.

If the school system does not honor their requests, they will call on hundreds of their members to call out sick on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

“It is necessary because we can no longer go with the flow. We cannot do business as usual. Our children are getting sick. Our staff are getting sick and we cannot function in the school building like that,” Johnson stated.

“My ask all the time is that we keep working together, but you know, not having a day in school is not the answer for that,” said Narcisse.

In response to the EBRPAE’s request, a separate teacher union called East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers (EBRFT) encourages its members not to participate in the sick-out, stating:

East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers will not be participating in the sick out on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. We are encouraging our members to not take the day. However, we are in talks with the Superintendent about the Covid situation. We have brought your concerns to him.

EBRPAE hosts press conference Tuesday, watch the full video below:

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