Bay, Saginaw County Educators Identify Priorities in Safely Returning to School

Michigan Education Association members in Saginaw and Bay Counties released the following statement on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020:

BAY COUNTY AND SAGINAW COUNTY —  The outbreak of COVID-19 has created the greatest challenge of our lifetimes. Many families within our very communities have dealt with school closures, sickness, job loss, and more.

We are proud of the work and efforts of public school employees in meeting the incredible challenges of 2020. Whether it was through reading books to students online, creating an online curriculum within a short amount of time, or reaching out to children via phone, Zoom or email, school employees in our districts worked to meet the needs of students.

After teaching remotely this Spring, many school employees hoped the virus would subside, but this has not been the case. As the virus continues to rage across the United States, educators now face the tremendous task of resuming school.

Many of us understand the importance school employees play in building caring relationships with students and the vital role these relationships play in the educational process. Each and every public school staff member believes the best place for our students to learn is in the classroom in the care of highly trained professional public educators and support staff in a safe environment. In the event that in-person learning is not an option, we are committed to providing a quality and supportive educational experience for all students.

As local leaders in Bay County and Saginaw County, we believe the following:

1. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our students, families, and staff.

2. Schools are most effective when staff, administration, elected officials, and families work together.

3. All public school employees are essential and must be included in the decision-making process for all phases of a safe return to school, including in-person, remote, and hybrid models.

4. Public schools adapt to meet the needs of all students. Meaningful learning can take place in many forms when training and support are provided.

5. Decisions regarding learning and working conditions must be based on scientific data and recommendations. Schools should only resume in-person classes if it is safe.

6. Changes in working conditions, safety protocols, and online instruction must be bargained with local associations.

7. Public school students should be taught by public school educators in their districts, whether online or in person.

8. All Bay County and Saginaw County educators are committed to their students and families. We have never given up, nor will we in the future.

As a collective group, we call on all leaders (national, state, and local) to delay all in-person education where it cannot be delivered safely and begin the school year with remote learning until such time as all safety protocols can be implemented with fidelity and equipment is in place.

Saginaw County Associations

Birch Run Education Association

Birch Run Educational Support Personnel Association

Bridgeport- Spaulding Education Association

Carrollton Education Association

Chesaning Union Education Association

Merrill Education Association

Saginaw Township Educational Office Personnel

Saginaw Township Education Association

St. Charles Education Association

Swan Valley Education Association

Swan Valley Education Support Personnel

Bay County Associations 

Bangor Township Education Association

Bay Arenac ISD Education Association

Bay Arenac ISD Educational Support Personnel Association

Bay City Education Association

Bay City Educational Support Professionals

Bay City Food Service Union

Bay City Hall Monitors

Bay City Public Schools Maintenance Personnel Association

Essexville-Hampton Education Association

Essexville-Hampton Educational Support Personnel Association

Pinconning Education Association

Standish-Sterling Education Association