President of Albuquerque teachers union expresses concern about returning to school | KOB 4

President of Albuquerque teachers union expresses concern about returning to school

Patrick Hayes
Updated: July 21, 2020 05:18 PM
Created: July 21, 2020 03:05 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The debate on how to reopen schools is getting heated.

Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, said educators are scared about going back too soon.

Teachers within Albuquerque Public Schools are supposed to return to school on Aug. 5 to begin preparing for online and in-school teaching.

"I think, right now, what all the teachers are wondering is whether or not they have to start on August 5 in person at their schools or whether they too can have virtual meetings and online meetings and not have to go into the building if they don't want to," Bernstein said.

Bernstein said teachers are left wondering why it's OK for them to return to school if it's too dangerous for students to be in the building.

"Some people want to be in their classroom, and they want to work remotely in a confined area, all alone, plenty of space around them," Bernstein siad. "But plenty of people don't feel safe and feel like it's hypocritical of anybody to mandate that they go in-person to their school building if the whole district isn't functioning in-person at the same time."

In Florida, teachers say they may strike if they're forced to reopen. 

Bernstein says it's an option in Albuquerque, but it's not likely to occur.

"If there's no guarantee that we're safe, we're going to have to do something," Bernstein said. "We'll organize, we'll fight back. We'll make sure our voices are heard. I don't think it's going to come to that because we're still working together."

Bernstein expressed confidence in the governor. 

"We're lucky. We have a governor that knows her job is to keep us safe and if she has to make a statewide rule that it's not time to open in-person schooling," Bernstein said. "I trust that she will. And I don't think the people in Florida have the same trust in their governor."

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