Metro Atlanta teachers protest as the return to in-person classes looms

Some teachers in metro Atlanta are sounding the alarm on going back to the classroom. Many of those teachers start back in less than two weeks.

A small group of teachers gathered today at the State Capitol for a silent protest. They say they want decision-makers to follow the science when it comes to making reopening decisions.

"It's literally a life or death situation because public schools are notoriously underfunded. You have to think about how we're gonna pay for the PPE. It's not practical," said Chantae Pittman, a Cobb County teacher.

Pittman helped organize the rally at the State Capital on Sunday even though her district opted for a virtual only model. But Pittman says there are many others who are still going back to the classroom. Districts like Gwinnett County will be going back if parents choose that option.

"As teachers, as educators, no one wants to see the kids back in the classroom more than us," said Anthony Downer, a Gwinnett County Teacher.

But some teachers and administrators in Gwinnett County have concerns about going back so soon. The district is leaving it up to parents to decide whether students will report in person or online.

"We just want our voices to be heard in that there's real concern for us. We know its a hard decision," said Shavaun Mincey, an administrator at a Gwinnett County Elementary School.

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The group plans to hold a march Monday to demand the school board change its back to school plan to virtual only learning. They say there was not enough discussion at last week's board meeting which adjourned after one member voiced his concerns against in person learning to start the year.

"Just thinking about doing digital learning in it of itself, that's a huge task, and then now lets put on the in person learning," Aireane Montgomery, a Gwinnett County Teacher.

Gwinnett County has some of the highest confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. Georgia's Department of Public health is reporting 13,444 cases as of Sunday.

"We can set Georgia back just being the largest county if we go back, it's going to have a ripple effect. There's so many people involved," said Mincey.

The group is also asking for the resignation of board member Louise Radloff after she was overheard on a hot mic saying what sounded like she could strangle another board member. If you're interested in joining their protest it will start at the Horizon Village Shopping Center at 10:30 a.m.

At 11:00 a.m., demonstrators will begin marching to the GCPS Instructional Support Center.

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