Dozens of Anoka-Hennepin teachers rallied before Monday night’s School Board meeting demanding more of a voice in the discussions surrounding Back to School plans this fall.
Nearly 200 teachers stood, socially distant, around the block of the Sandburg Education Center in Anoka on Monday night. Many of them held up signs voicing their concerns. One simply read, "I’m Scared."
A few teachers addressed the crowd from a podium set up in front of the building entrance.
"Teachers want to teach," said one teacher. "We want to be face to face with students. We just want to do it safely."
The teachers rallied prior to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board meeting where District 11 staff were to present their back to school plan. At the start of the meeting the president of the District 11 teachers’ union addressed the board.
"We need a consistent message," said Valerie Holthus who is president of Anoka-Hennepin Education Minnesota teachers union. "Whether that’s about safety, ventilation, teacher workloads, child care opportunities, work assignments and more."
The school board meeting lasted more than five hours during which superintendent David Law and his staff laid out Anoka-Hennepin’s plans for hybrid and distance learning for each grade.
Starting September 8th, schools will coordinate orientation activities for students in grades K through 12. Then on September 15th, instruction starts for all students. Elementary schools will start in the hybrid format, while middle and high schools will start with distance learning. Then on September 28th, middle and high schools will move into hybrid learning.
"Our leadership team has spent hundreds of hours ensuring we’re doing everything above and beyond what’s required to guarantee the safety of our students and staff in our school buildings," said Dr. David Law who is superintendent of School District 11.
While questions still remain everyone acknowledges this will be the start of a school year unlike any other.