Del. coronavirus recovery: Teachers union boss urges caution with school reopening

Teacher Ronda Laws and her students

The state teachers union is urging caution with reopening for the safety of teachers like Howard High School of Technology's Ronda Laws and her students. (Cris Barrish/WHYY)

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On Thursday, Delaware reported 13,114, an increase of 64 from the previous day. Related deaths were unchanged at 521. There are 50 patients currently hospitalized, one fewer than reported Wednesday.

Under the three potential scenarios outlined this week for reopening Delaware schools — all in-class instruction, hybrid of in-class and remote learning, and all online-instruction — state officials now say the hybrid model would fit the current situation of minimal-to-moderate community spread of the coronavirus.

While Gov. John Carney says he won’t announce his administration’s decision until sometime in August, at least two weeks from now, state teachers union president Stephanie Ingram is urging Delaware’s 19 school districts to proceed with caution.

“If there is even the slightest doubt’’ that students and staff can be safe and that detailed guidance from the Department of Education be followed, “the districts need to start the school year in a remote learning environment and continue until they can follow this guidance,’’ Ingram said in a statement released late Wednesday.

Ingram said the Delaware State Education Association that she leads had input over the guidance and districts “need to make an honest assessment of their ability” to reopen. She encouraged districts to include their local teachers’ unions in conversations about how to best educate K-12 students.

The union boss applauded the Appoquinimink School District in the Middletown area for delaying reopening at least a week, until Sept. 8, “to prepare for this change in educational environments.”

She said other boards across the state “should consider similar action to allow sufficient time to assess the ability to meet the DOE guidance and prepare for the upcoming school year in whatever form it takes.”

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