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A win for student safety in Monroe

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K5 Monroe Elem sign
(photo credit: KING 5)

When educators and families stand together, we have the power to hold our districts accountable to keeping our community safe.  As COVID infections began to skyrocket in early November, most districts began to rethink plans to expand in-person classes. Not Monroe. Dead set on proving that the administration and school board could plunge ahead without working with classroom educators, the district told parents it would begin to steadily expand elementary classes at school.

Monroe’s teachers got organized and with the support of parents, we overwhelmingly agreed to prioritize students and safety ahead of the district’s rush to return more students to school. And it worked.

Even with the district threatening to fire its first-grade teachers — the grade that the district first scheduled to return Nov. 16  — most teachers (and students) said no to in-person learning and stayed home for safety. That’s what Monroe’s pandemic contract agreement between the teachers and the district called for when we signed it in September. It was clear to educators, parents, and the community, the district was wrong. And together we let the district hear it.

By Wednesday, after just two days of in-classroom learning, the district announced that first-graders would return to an all-remote model.

The decision was a victory for the safety of students, their families and us as staff. Even though we want to be back in our classrooms where we can connect with our students to deliver hands-on learning, we know our first priority is to ensure our students are safe.

The members of the Monroe Education Association stood together, stood strong, reached out to our community and won. MEA forced the district to rethink a dangerous decision. Our students and staff are safer for it.

Read more about our victory on KING 5, Q13, and the Everett Herald.

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