Days after Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that school will be delayed a couple more weeks, the state's largest teacher's union is calling for a remote start to the school year.
Raimondo announced Wednesday that schools will start Sept. 14. instead of the end of the month, as previously planned, to give administrators and families more time to prepare amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the final determination on whether classes will begin in-person, remote or on a hybrid model won't be made until the end of the month, the governor said.
The executive director of Rhode Island's National Education Association told NBC affiliate WJAR Thursday he doesn't understand why Raimondo is pushing to get kids back in the classroom.
"We're all saying the same thing. Start with distance learning. It's not that hard. She's not listening right now. We encourage her to listen," Robert Walsh told WJAR.
Raimondo said Wednesday it's been a "herculean task" to get schools open because a number of factors need to be in place to do it safely. Among them are whether schools have proper ventilation, what transportation plans are in place for students, whether stable groups can be maintained and how mask-wearing will be enforced.
Walsh told WJAR the state's teachers' unions are concerned with the air quality and poor ventilation in old schools.
"We're not going to compromise on health and safety, of our students, or our members, and of their parents," Walsh said.
Citing concerns over ventilation, the Providence Teachers Union is now calling for remote learning.
"At the end of the day, I want to ask people how many kids getting sick is going to be the threshold for them to be satisfied that we're all back in the classroom," Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro told WJAR.