CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Federation of Teachers held a Solidarity Rally Monday night for those who will be returning to in-person instruction on Tuesday.
Dozens marched outside the Mellon Building in the cold and rain. CFT Vice-President Mike Sitch shared the message he wanted pre-K thru 5th grade teachers and staff to hear.
“We see you, we hear you,” he said. “We know what your concerns are and we’re listening. We’re advocating for you. Your colleagues appreciate you. Your community, your parents appreciate you because we know they have a really tough job ahead of them over these next few months.”
While he said teachers were excited to see their students in-person this week, he also expressed concerns about questions that he felt have remained unanswered.
“We think the district has probably gone above and beyond most districts as far as establishing their safety protocols,” Sitch said. “Some of the concerns we have at this point are really concerns in relationship to meeting student needs. Our teachers are being put in positions where being able to meet those needs is being complicated by being in-person and then going to virtual and spreading them thin in that way.”
Sitch voiced that concern at the district’s board meeting after the rally.
Unit 4 Elementary families will have the option of remaining in distance learning for the rest of the 2nd quarter, or to attend modified in-person learning at their schools. Starting October 27, roughly 1,750 students will attend 2.5 hours of in-person instruction each day with a teacher, along with 2.5 hours of structured independent learning Tuesday to Friday each week. Monday will be a remote distance learning day for all students, regardless of which plan they participate in.
Safety protocols will include mask mandates and temperature checks. Each school will have an on-site nurse during in-person instruction. At the October 12 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Susan Zola announced the district would also be partnering with Carle to provide on-site nasal swab COVID-19 testing.
For more details on Unit 4’s learning plan, click here.