I am Rheta Rubenstein, chair of the Education Team of the Ridgefield Community Group. I am a retired teacher and teacher educator with 47 years experience. I know Ridgefield teachers are passionate about teaching. They want dearly to be with students in classrooms helping them learn and grow. But we are in a pandemic.
I recall last autumn being told that if there were over 75 cases per 100,000 population in two weeks we are all on remote learning. And so it was. Teachers have since invested a great deal of time and energy learning to teach effectively, albeit remotely.
Now the state says 350 per 100,000 population in two weeks is OK for hybrid learning. Frankly, I don’t get it. But I do understand that teachers are willing if the conditions are safe. Yes, we can all wear masks and stay apart. But most Ridgefield buildings lack openable windows or sufficient ventilation. Yes, students are themselves at low risk of getting COVID-19, but teachers’ risk is comparable to that of the community. And they have families, some of whom are in risky groups. And there are no plans for testing. Schools not being “superspreaders” is not the same as being safe!
Further, it was inconsiderate to Ridgefield teachers to announce the hybrid schedule without consulting them.
Vaccines are becoming available. Can teachers be vaccinated before working with youngsters?
This is just another example of district administrators making quick moves without consulting teachers. Teachers, the greatest resource of the district, are left unsupported. “Disrespectful” is the nicest word I have to describe this.