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Many Arkansas Teachers Refuse In-Person Classes Amid COVID-19 Concerns

NPR |

At least 166 instructors represented by Little Rock Education Association say they are concerned about COVID-19 and only willing to teach remotely. Until the district allows for remote-only instruction or increases school safety, they say they will stay home, according to a union statement.

“Our schools are NOT safe. Someone is going to get sick and someone is going to die if we continue in the current manner,” association President Teresa Knapp Gordon said in a statement. “This is not a strike,” Gordon continued. “We are completely and totally willing to work and serve our students virtually in a manner that keeps everyone safe and alive.”

The district, however, isn’t budging. Mike Poore, Little Rock School District superintendent, said in a letter that there are “no plans to close schools.” Poore also told NPR there will be disciplinary action against the no-show teachers, and they may be fired. He says the district has done an excellent job of being as safe as possible in the five weeks it has been open.