Gwinnett County teachers demand option to work from home
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Hundreds of Gwinnett County School teachers are demanding the school system give them an option to work from home or in person for the upcoming school year.
Gwinnett teachers are expected to return to work this Wednesday.
The teacher FOX 5's Alex Whittler spoke with says the school needs to provide teachers with more options by Tuesday at the latest, or many of those educators won’t stay on the job.
Ashley Newman says she’s loved every second of her six years working for Gwinnett County Schools but she says there is a population of Gwinnett educators who want to work from home, as they did when schools closed because of COVID-19 in March.
"The numbers were lower then than they are now," she said.
She says the school sent out an email earlier this month that read in part:
"Those who are allowed to work from home will be expected to come to the school periodically to work with other school staff and leaders."
Newman says this applied to teachers with special circumstances or loved ones in need of intricate care.
"I want to return to school, I care about the kids, but it’s not safe to return right now," Newman said.
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Since the original email, Newman says the school system posted a similar message to its website, but it didn’t include that sentence. So several teachers called in.
"We’ve all been told 'there is no work from home option at this time,'" she said.
"Before anyone called the leave department, we were expecting the answer to be 'yes' we’ll work with you," Newman said.
Newman started a petition, demanding teachers have a choice to return to the classroom or not.
It has more than 1,000 signatures.
Newman ultimately wants to return to in-person learning when its safe to do so, but with teachers expected at work Wednesday, she says several of them need another option.
This form of protest is different from the Gwinnett parents who also want an option.
Those parents want students and families to have a choice of going back to school in person or online.
As of now, all classes are virtual.
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