O’Fallon, IL – The OTHS District 203 Teachers Union has voted to demand that the district move to remote learning due to safety concerns as regional and countywide COVID-19 metrics continue to rise to warning levels.
A release from Local 3939 President and OTHS history teacher Mike Day said “Yesterday, the union representing teachers, service workers, and paraprofessionals held a membership meeting and voted overwhelmingly to demand remote learning due to health, safety, and sustainability concerns.”
The release continued “The O’Fallon Federation of Teachers calls on the O’Fallon Township High School Board Of Education to move to online instruction for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. With Coronavirus cases surging in St. Clair County, it is no longer safe for students and staff to attend traditional in-person instruction. Even with recommended protocols in place, it is impossible to adequately protect the students we serve as well as the staff who is committed to their educational success. Over the last three weeks the Union has vigorously worked with the District to develop a robust blended educational experience. The Union has demanded health, safety and welfare protections for both students and staff. Although we were hopeful our discussions would lead to in-person learning, our members no longer believe the District’s health, safety, and welfare protections can adequately shield students and teachers alike. Additionally, the District’s refusal to develop and publish an option where quarantined teachers and those with immune deficiencies could work remotely calls the sustainability of these plans into question.
With these health, safety, welfare, and sustainability concerns in mind, OTHS teachers and staff no longer view in-person instruction as possible for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.”
OTHS Superintendent Dr. Darcy Benway shared the following statement on behalf of the District 203 School Board “
he Board of Education and administration included the union in the development of our Return to Learn plan from the start. Safety measures at OTHS are in compliance with the safety measures called for by the union’s parent organization, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT). The Board can only assume that since some of the financial asks by the union leadership for additional leave related to COVID-19 were denied, the resulting vote occurred.”
Benway continued “As we all know, recent COVID-19 trend data in our county has indicated a spike in the positivity rates in our area. The OTHS plan calls for consideration of a shift to remote learning as these COVID-19 incidents increase. The Board and administration are always interested in the voices of our employees and will engage in discussions on a possible shift to remote per the union’s demand.”
The O’Fallon Federation of Teachers, Local 3939 represents over 250 educational employees at O’Fallon Township High School, District 203 located in O’Fallon Illinois. It is an affiliate of IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO.