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Little Rock Education Association chief urges virtual teaching only

by Cynthia Howell | August 14, 2020 at 8:16 p.m.
A classroom is shown in this 2015 file photo.

The president of the Little Rock Education Association on Friday called for teachers in the state’s capital city and throughout the state to teach only virtually starting Aug. 24, and refuse to teach students in person until the covid-19 pandemic subsides significantly.

“We refuse to enter unsafe buildings that put our students and ourselves at risk of contracting covid-19,” Teresa Knapp-Gordon, president of the union of teachers and support staff in the Little Rock district, said in a news release immediately after announcing the membership’s decision on a Facebook Live broadcast.

“It is unethical and immoral to try to force us to do so,” said Gordon, who criticized Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Education Secretary Johnny Key for requiring in-person instruction.

Gordon, a media specialist at one of the Little Rock district’s elementary schools, said that employees will go to work as planned in the upcoming week but will only teach students virtually when school starts Aug. 24 for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. That virtual-only instruction will continue until the covid-19 positivity rate, which is now at 15.53% in Pulaski County, remains below 5% for 14 consecutive days.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

CORRECTION: Teresa Knapp-Gordon called for teachers to teach only virtually starting Aug. 24, the first day of class. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when teachers would begin classroom work.

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