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Teachers push back on school reopening, say they ‘don’t want to die or kill their families’

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    LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon (KPTV) — Lake Oswego teachers are pushing back on the district’s plans to start hybrid in-person learning next month.

In a press release titled “Lake Oswego teachers don’t want to die or kill their families,” the education association said teachers responded with fear and anger at the news the school district would soon be reopening to in-person learning.

The union conducted a survey last week with 330 of its 440 members responding. It says the results show 76% of them are opposed to returning, either until a vaccine is available or until the district uses health metrics to determine reopening.

As of Monday, 13% of teachers said they were reluctant to return but would do so if asked, and 11% said they looked forward to returning.

With the current COVID-19 situation, the release calls the timing of reopening “callous and dangerous.”

There are some parents and students who are thrilled to soon be back in the classroom.

“I think I’m just really looking forward to meeting new people and my teachers,” Maddi Dale said.

Dale is a Lake Oswego Junior High student and part of the reopening workgroup.

Her mom Jennifer Dale has been an advocate for getting kids back in class and was disappointed to see what the union said.

“I’m worried that it could derail a process that everybody’s been working very diligently on,” Jennifer Dale said. “Our leadership has sketched out a plan to do this very slowly, it’s bringing kids back only two hours a day through a hybrid schedule, small cohorts, kids will be in masks.”

Dale said she understands the fear and wants teachers to be vaccinated as soon as possible but worries waiting for that before returning could take even longer.

“We know this can be done successfully and safely and we don’t know the timeline that a vaccine rollout could mean,” Jennifer Dale said. “We’ve already seen in Oregon substantial delays and challenges in rolling out the vaccine.”

The Lake Oswego School District sent out an email response, listing a timeline of planning efforts dating back to October, including that the union agreed to return to in-person school when allowed by the state upon two-weeks-notice from the district.

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