Missouri teachers protest reopening plans for upcoming school year

Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 00:08:46-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Teachers are torn about the fast-approaching school year as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Kansas City metro.

“I don’t think it’s safe yet," said Amanda Laws, a Missouri educator.

While they want to see their students in person after months out of the classroom, many told 41 Action News they're concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and the lack of a plan to keep themselves and students protected.

“We know that online learning is not the best scenario," Jess Piper, a Missouri teacher, said. "I know that my kids, when they’re in my class they get way more than they do from me online. However, they’ll all be alive if they’re online."

RELATED: KC area schools announce plans for 2020-21 academic year

Dozens of teachers met Saturday at Mill Creek Park on the Country Club Plaza to raise their voices.

“I feel like we as a profession are very reluctant to speak to our needs, and I think it’s great that we’re out here doing that today," Laws said.

In Missouri, there is no state model for schools to follow. Gov. Mike Parson left the decision up to school districts to decide on their fall plans.

RELATED: More KC districts acknowledge possibility of virtual school to begin 2020-21

“I have 120 11th graders, so I teach in the high school," Piper said. "So if I have 120 kids, they’re coming into contact with 425 and we’re packed into a pretty small building."

Teachers who gathered at Mill Creek Park told 41 Action News they'd like to see a 14-day decline in coronavirus cases before returning to in-person classes.

“I think it’s going to come to teachers standing up and saying, I can’t keep your kids safe," Piper said. "If you put 28 kids in my class, I can’t keep them safe and I need them to know that."