KILLEEN, Texas – With students scheduled to return to the classroom soon, teachers are voicing their concerns.
“It’s a dangerous environment, and they have every right to be concerned,” says Rick Beaulé, the president of the Killeen Educators Association.
The Killeen Independent School District plans on launching a virtual learning platform on August 17th, but students and teachers are expected to return to in person classes on September 8th.
The school district has stated it plans on following the guidelines put into place by the Texas Education Agency, but teachers are still concerned it may not be enough.
“We conducted a survey of our membership and found that over 60 percent of the teachers do not feel safe returning to in-person learning. Three out of five of them say they feel moderate stress at the prospect of returning, and over half of them are experiencing high stress,” says Beaulé.
Many teachers feel the risk of returning to in-person schooling is to high right now.
“We want to return to in-person learning as soon as possible, but it has to be done safely. Typically, most of the respondents in our survey said they would like to see 14 days of declining cases and a low positivity rate. Right now the positivity rate in Texas is 20 percent. The state guidelines says it should be below six, so we’re over triple that rate,” says Beaulé.
In order to express their concerns, the Killeen Educators Association created a Honk for your Health rally.
“We came up with Honk for your Health as an opportunity for them to voice their concerns without exposing themselves to COVID by driving their cars past the administration building and honking their horns,” says Beaulé.
They hope their voices are heard.
“We want safe learning, and we want our children to be safe. We don’t wish to see anyone become sickened or die as a result of this virus,” says Beaulé.
In response to the rally, Killeen ISD released a statement saying, “While the district remains open to dialogue and feedback pertaining to the safe return to school, we highly discourage individuals to violate laws, including those outlined in the transportation code. We will continue to provide appropriate avenues for concerns to be expressed.”