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Gahanna-Jefferson teachers say strike is for students, district disagrees

The Columbus Dispatch |

A particular flashpoint is an expectation that teachers will place cameras in their classrooms, so students who are learning remotely from home can watch instruction in real-time. Teachers should be specifically dedicated to groups of students learning remotely, the union contends.

The district, meanwhile, says the union’s characterization of the situation is exaggerated. Teachers would not be livestreaming all day, but only for specific lessons, or for small group meetings, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon. And groups of online learners would be just three to six students, as opposed to a full class.

Betsy Baker, the union’s spokeswoman, said its negotiating team has considered some proposals incorporating live-streaming, so the subject isn’t a deal-breaker.

But that doesn’t mean teachers aren’t concerned, especially those who have already experienced troubling disruptions on student webcams during lessons, including profanity and nudity, from their family members. They’re also worried about protecting the privacy of students in class.

The district hopes to hire enough substitutes to staff its online classes, a combination of internal hires and substitutes registered with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio.