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IFT releases letter to Dr. Martell

‘Educators in our districts are going above and beyond in terribly trying and unprecedented times.’
IFT releases stance on in-person learning
IFT releases stance on in-person learning
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 2:47 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois Federation of Teachers issued a letter in response to comments from Winnebago County Health Department Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell.

"Dear Dr. Martell,

The Hononegah Education Association, Kinnikinnick Education Association, Prairie Hill Federation of Teachers, Rockton Teachers' Association, and Shirland Education Association are united in standing behind the Rockford Education Association and Harlem Federation of Teachers in our disappointment regarding your public statements towards educators. We are dismayed—in the face of a pandemic—that you would publicly blame the educators who are risking their health and the health of their loved ones to provide quality education to our community.

We are united in calling for the Winnebago County Health Department to address the following:

- Implement clear thresholds for establishing an “adaptive pause.” This was previously discussed; however, your office keeps moving the target required in order to move all schools safely to remote learning.

- Apply thorough and timely contact tracing within buildings to prevent further spread. This is absolutely critical for the safety of the entire school community, and it must be done accurately and quickly so that others are not needlessly put at risk.

- Establish clear communication with administrators, teachers, students, and staff of possible exposure in their classes. All members of a class are not told that their classroom has been exposed to an individual who tested positive. This glaring lack of transparency has left all of us with an increased level of anxiety toward absences.

- Convey accurate reporting of the amount of infection and quarantine.

Educators in our districts are going above and beyond in terribly trying and unprecedented times. In the midst of increasing community spread, we need the Winnebago County Health Department’s support rather than criticism to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students.

Sincerely,

Chad Smith, President, Hononegah Education Association

Jessica McIntyre, President, Kinnikinnick Education Association

Lindy Daniels and Gina Tuula, Co-Presidents, Rockton Teachers' Association

Sandy Wyatt and Doug Elfstrom, Co-Presidents, Prairie Hill Federation of Teachers

Mark Snyder President, Shirland Education Association"

Copyright 2020 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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