Savannah Federation of Teachers union reacts to SCCPSS potential return to in-person learning

Savannah Federation of Teachers union reacts to SCCPSS potential return to in-person learning

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County School board will meet bright and early Wednesday to discuss their phased re-entry plan.

Board members wanted a more specific look at the benchmarks needed to return to in-person learning.

The Savannah Federation of Teachers represents more than 500 staff members within the Savannah-Chatham District. They say while a lot of people have different opinions one thing they all want is more communication.

“You came up with a plan, but you didn’t give a detailed, full speck of what that plan will consist of and once again that’s that lack of communication that I am referring to that you can’t just sit around a table and say okay let’s do this and put it on paper and present it, you must give detail because you’re dealing with people’s lives," said President of Savannah Federation of Teachers Theresa Watson.

The Savannah Federation of teacher members all have different opinions about how and when they should head back to the classroom. Theresa Watson, the president, says some have already returned while others remain fearful of catching the virus.

Watson says there isn’t a perfect plan for everyone.

“There is no winning situation, you just have to find that place in the middle where everybody can still say ‘okay I can’t have this, but I can have this,’" said Watson.

Watson says teachers and staff she has spoken to are frustrated. They want to know what their responsibilities will be and how they will keep students safe and be protect themselves. They want to be heard.

“Pull these teachers to the table to have some kind of input because guess what, you’re making these decisions, but they’re going to have to put it into action and if they don’t have the right equipment or the right ideas of what they need to do it’s not going to be effective.”

We reached out to Savannah-Chatham officials who tell us teachers were given details on their return to learn expectations prior to the first day of school on August 19. Additionally, they say teachers were a part of the superintendent’s task force, were surveyed and also represented on the superintendent’s professional senate.

A district spokesperson says safety is their highest priority and they are making every effort to return safely and say they will be as flexible with teachers as they can in their phased reopening plan.

The presentation for Wednesday’s board meeting recommends a return date of Sept. 28 for staff. Kindergarten registration orientation would be Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

They then recommend the following return to learn phases:

  • Phase 2: Pre-K through 2nd grade, least independent learners, 6th and 9th grade - red to orange on CTI - would return October 5.
  • Phase 3: add grades 3rd through 5th, 7,8,10,and 12 - yellow on CTI - would return October 26.
  • Phase 4: Four days in person for everyone with Wednesday still being used for deep cleaning - CTI is green.

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