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Teachers and parents protest LPS fall plans at State Capitol

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 8:04 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The school year starts in 9 days for LPS schools and state officials said they’re ready to open back up with in-person learning. But several LPS teachers and parents are asking leaders to change their plan. Something they would like to happen is potentially delaying the fall semester to a later date.

Some teachers and aren't only concerned for their students, but themselves. Juju Tyner is an LPS mother and teacher and said this will put a lot of stress on teachers.

“Their plan is in no way serving all students,” said Tyner. Many teachers, including Tyner, don’t feel safe going back to school Aug. 12. This is largely due to teachers being required to be in school even if the COVID-19 Risk Dial is in the green, yellow or orange. It’s also because the teachers feel schools will be crowded.

“What’s important is that we need to address the safety for our community and COVID does not recognize boundaries,” Jennifer Jorges, a Lincoln mother, said. To potentially help with changes, Jorges made a group called Safely Open Schools in an effort she said will protect everyone.

The Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt said school districts will likely keep moving forward with plans they already have in place.

“I’m concerned that if schools just have a few cases and shut down and don’t think about all the ways to mitigate that that well have a very hard time being back in school,” said Blomstedt. Even though some teachers are concerned about fall learning, Gov. Ricketts said kids need to get back to school.

“Do I believe schools are prepared to open and I think schools are prepared to open and to get kids back in classrooms,” Gov. Ricketts said.

LPS Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel said in a statement, “Safety of staff and students is one of our top priorities. That is why we have been working collaboratively all summer with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. We feel that we have many safety measures that can be implemented based on those recommendations from the experts at the health department and it gives families choices with what works best for their child. Our goal has always been to mitigate risk knowing we cannot eliminate it. We want to ensure that all of our students have access to a high-quality educational and co-curricular experience.”

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