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Educators Protest In-Person Classes in Lawrence Schools

The protest in Lawrence against the start of in-person classes. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Teachers and para-educators protested in Lawrence Monday, urging the school district not to start in-person classes later this month because of safety concerns over the coronavirus.

More than 20 educators gathered outside the district office in Lawrence. They had signs with slogans like “remote learning is safest.”  

So far, classes have all been online, but the school board voted last month to let students have the option of attending part-time, in-person classes.

Schools will require protections, like face masks, to help control the spread of the virus. Amanda Painter-Ingham, who teaches special education, said those measures might not be enough.

“We have kids who can’t keep their hands to themselves when that is the expectation," she said. "How are we going to expect them to wear a mask all day or stay six feet distanced?”

She said it will be harder for some parents if schools reopen but then have to suddenly close again because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Para-educator Hannah Allison, who chairs the local union, says it will be difficult to manage both online and in-person students. She wants to remain online only and improve remote learning.

“If we come together and make an improved plan for remote learning, and stay out of the classroom, the physical building space until it is safe, we can protect our whole community,” Allison said. “What happens in schools trickles out to our whole community.”

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