PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — At a virtual school board meeting Monday, the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board voted to delay the dates students will return to in-person learning — but it still means teachers won’t be fully vaccinated once they return.
Mashawna Miller and Danika Perdi-Zundel, both middle school teachers in the district, said they miss seeing their students in person, but both believe there will be terrible consequences for teachers, students and the community if the district sends students and teachers back to the classroom too soon.
“Our community’s not really listening to us,” Miller, an 8th-grade science teacher at Meridian Creek Middle School, said.
“The comments that parents in this district are making about teachers not wanting to work or we’re just lazy, I mean it is horrifying,” said Perdi-Zundel, a 7th-grade dual language and social studies teacher at Wood Middle School. “You asked earlier what is my biggest stress — I think that’s it, just seeing what this is doing to all of us when educators are really just trying to speak up because we care.”
“We love them so much and we’re concerned for them,” she said “We’re concerned for what’s going to happen to their families, how crowded the hospitals are going to be and what’s going to happen to people who need to get other kinds of care if hospitals are full.”
The school board’s decision means kindergartners are back in class in less than month — February 22. Miller and Perdi-Zundel don’t understand why the district doesn’t wait until all teachers are fully vaccinated.
“Wait and see if any teachers or students contract the disease and die. To me, that’s extremely stressful,” Miller said. “I don’t mean to laugh but if I don’t laugh I might cry, so here we are.”
Peri-Zundel said if they could “wait a couple more weeks and have all educators be fully vaccinated, to me is an indication of how strong the peer pressure is in this community.”
All West Linn-Wilsonville students should return to in-person learning by March 15.
Kindergartners lead off February 22, followed by 1st grade a week later. Then Grade 2 on March 3, followed by Grade 3 on March 8. Grades 4-5-6 go back March 10, then Grades 7-12 on March 15.
Families who wish for their child to continue CDL may continue to do so and will continue to have curriculum assigned by teacher, the superintendent said.
KOIN 6 News has talked to many parents in districts throughout the tri-county area who are pushing for schools to re-open because their children are falling behind academically and suffering socially and emotionally.
We’ve also taken parents’ questions and concerns to Oregon Department of Education Director, Colt Gill.