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EBR teachers hesitant to attend in-person training; some calling it a 'superspreader event'

1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago Monday, August 02 2021 Aug 2, 2021 August 02, 2021 8:34 PM August 02, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Some teachers were at odds this week with group meetings for educators ahead of the new school year in East Baton Rouge, though the district said it took strict health measures into account when booking in-person training.

"[EBR Parish School System]takes the health and safety of our employees and students very seriously. That is why we have taken proactive safety measures during this professional development opportunity which meet, or in many cases exceed, CDC and LDH health and safety guidance," a school district spokesperson said in a statement after teachers shared their concern with WBRZ.

The district said it gave information ahead of meetings about health measures.

Still, some teachers were worried about large, in-person meetings.

The teachers took to a private Facebook group Monday to vent their concerns, calling the development week a "superspreader event." Many say they won't attend out of an abundance of caution, but those who don't go will face negative consequences, such as having their pay docked or being required to make up training without pay. 

EBR teacher Storm Matthews was among those who shared a concern. 

"Keeping our children safe should be our first priority and in order to do that you must first keep the teachers safe," said Storm Matthews. 

On Monday, Governor John Bel Edwards reissued a statewide mandatory mask mandate for all indoor public spaces including schools. With ever-changing guidelines, teachers worry how it may affect the upcoming semester. 

The school district said it has met or exceeded all health and safety guidelines and that attendees had to submit a health self-check before going to meetings; Masks were required; group meetings will maintain social distancing; Some meetings are also available virtually and shuttle buses from off-site parking are running at 50% capacity. 

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