WACO, Texas – The Waco Independent School District is giving parents the option to send their children back to school this fall or for them to learn remotely. Those choices are going to determine how many teachers they will need to work at school.
A petition on change.org is calling for Waco ISD teachers to get the option to choose if they want to go back to school or work from home.
The organizer, Haley Nafe, is a 2020 Waco ISD graduate who comes from a line of teachers and hopes to become one soon. She says, like students, teachers should be given a choice.
“I just don’t think now is the right time to reopen or send teachers in against their will. Cause some teacher will want to go in, like they all want to go in and work, but it’s a matter of life and death for some of them,” said Nafe.
18-year-old Haley Nafe started the petition because she’s worried – not only for her over-50-year-old dad who is a Waco ISD teacher and has pre-existing conditions – but also for all her past teachers who may fall under this category.
“I think it’s just very unfair for students to have the choice whether to go in, and not teachers because they are more susceptible to die if they catch COVID,” said Nafe.
Waco ISD Superintendent Susan Kincannon says it will all depend on how many families choose to go back to school.
“We will be visiting with all of our teachers about their individual situations, especially regarding their health, and we will be as accommodating as we can be – prioritizing those who are at risk with health issues,” said Dr. Kincannon.
54 percent of surveyed Waco ISD teachers say they prefer a hybrid model, meaning both in-person and virtual instruction. 43 percent chose in person, and 45 percent chose remote.
“Some teachers could be teaching in person, and some teachers could be teaching remotely. Teams of teachers at campuses could develop plans that have where they rotate with, remote or in person,” said Dr. Kincannon.
Instead of starting school in August, Waco ISD will start September 8th, giving officials more time to assess where the virus stands.
“It would also allow us to build in some additional staff development days and the front so that we can develop lesson plans,” said Dr. Kincannon.
“It’s just really scary. I don’t want to lose him. And I don’t want to lose my teachers. And I don’t want to lose my friends. I just don’t want to lose anyone,” added Nafe.
The Waco ISD Board of Trustees are meeting at 6:00 p.m. to outline the fall plans. The district will also host a teleconference with parents to get their input on Tuesday, July 21st.