“It Is Not That We Took Hands-Off, But We Put The Proper Hands-On.” –UCPS BOE Member Speaks On Covid Policy Change

UNION COUNTY, NC. — It appears to be a back and forth blame game. Union County School Board member Reverand Jimmy H. Bention, Sr., says district officials tried to work with the county health department to shorten the quarantine period for asymptomatic students because he says state health officials are responsible for putting people in quarantine.

“It is not that we took hands-off, but we put the proper hands-on because now the health department can do their statutory duties and issue letters of quarantine to those involved in Covid cases,” says Rev. Bention.

Some Union County school teachers feel like the Board of Education has let them down, says President of the Union County Association for Educators, Pamela Carolton.

“We are only 17 or 18 days into the school year, and it feels like we have been in school eight months. Teachers are tired already because of the stress. Unnecessary stress,” Carlton says.

The school board voted on Monday that the district would end contact tracing and quarantining for students and staffers who do not test positive for covid. State Health Director Dr. Mandy Cohen sent a letter Tuesday night telling the school board to rescind its vote by 5 pm Friday or face legal action. A district spokesperson says the board is reviewing the letter. Carlton predicts a mass exodus of teachers from the district.

“You can’t sit there and say that you’re making safe decisions for the county and the students of the county because you’re not, you’re not. There are good teachers that were losing for no reason at all.”

Teacher Amy Vitulli resigned just minutes after the board’s decision on Monday. She might lose her teaching license because she did not give 30 days’ notice.

“It makes me angry that someone else is irresponsible actions may cause me to lose a career that I love,” Vitulli says.