Cobb teachers demand transparency and safety measures during pandemic
COBB COUNTY, Ga - There is some frustration in the classroom in the midst of the pandemic. The Cobb County Association of Educators held a rally Thursday evening demanding the school board make some changes for the safety of educators and students.
"We have demands, things that need to be done to make students and teachers safe," said Cobb County Association of Educators President Connie Jackson.
Jackson said the pandemic has thrown the Cobb County School District into a tailspin.
"Parents don't know a lot about what's going on, teachers are frustrated and burned out, bus drivers are putting their very lives at risk because there's no mask mandate on buses," said Jackson.
Teachers held a rally before Thursday night's school board meeting. They want more transparency when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases, and they want some help for the teachers who are teaching virtually and face to face at the same time.
"I get constant calls from teachers crying that they're not doing their best for their students, crying because they're so overwhelmed because they're working 15 hours a day," said Jackson.
The group said it's nearly impossible for teachers to teach in person and virtual at the same time, but many are having to do that.
"Take the students who want to go virtual, take the teachers who have pre-existing medical conditions, and put that together. Then the teachers can still teach, earn a living, pay their health insurance and the students that want to be virtual can get a quality education," said Jackson.
As for the teachers who are comfortable going back into the classroom, they can teach face-to-face students.
"We need to have both options. We're not saying close the schools, just make it safe for everybody and make a reasonable job for everybody," said Jackson.
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Board member Dr. Jaha Howard showed up at the rally to support the teachers. He said their demands are reasonable.
"The superintendent did allude that he's looking at being more flexible for the upcoming semester, so that's good news, but we want to make sure we're acknowledging the scale of the problem," said Dr. Howard.
At the Thursday board meeting, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale did acknowledge that teachers are carrying the heaviest load during the pandemic and that they will be working with each school to find ways to reduce the burden on them.