Teachers In Union County Are Speaking Out About The District’s Back-to-School Plan

CHARLOTTE, NC. — Brittany Gendron is a librarian and literacy coach for Union County Public Schools. She says she does not feel safe teaching in-person.

“I could not live with myself if I was a vector. Even if I didn’t get sick. If I found out that through me being asymptomatic I pass it to a family member of a student, to a colleague, to a colleague’s child, to my loved ones,” says Gendron.

The Union County School Board is moving forward with Plan B. A hybrid of face-to-face and remote learning. Students will go to school once a week, based on the day they’re assigned, then learn remotely the other days. All students will remote learn on Fridays.

“Teachers aren’t being given the option to choose what they feel is the best for themselves and their families,” says teacher Sophia Stephenson.

Both Stephenson and Gendron are part of a group called EduAdvocates. They want to be part of the conversation without consequences.

“People are afraid to speak up. People are afraid of being fired. I think for me I’ve been petrified this whole time. I think it’s just gotten to the point where my courage has to be louder than my fear,” says Gendron.

State numbers show Union County’s percent of positive COVID-19 tests is at 9%. A petition is calling for remote learning until the percent positive is 5% or lower.

One teacher, who does not want to be identified, says if in-person learning doesn’t happen now it might never happen.

“I feel like if I don’t have that in-person, I’m not going to have the relationship that I wanna have with them,” says the Union County Public Schools teacher.