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Pickerington Teachers Union Point Out Safety And Learning Challenges Ahead Of Semester

Students in Pickerington return to classes next Monday, but a teacher and employee union is concerned about safety. 

The Pickerington school district will use a hybrid model when classes resume. One group of students will attend in person Monday and Tuesday, while the other will come in on Thursdays and Fridays.

But Pickerington Education Association president Heather Tinsley says social distancing will still be impossible because those cohorts don’t translate to 50% capacity at the classroom level.

To complicate matters further, some buildings haven’t gotten supplies of personal protective equipment.

“There’s been some delays in the PPE and it hasn’t showed up to all the buildings just yet, and so our concern is whether or not it will show up on August 31 when students are supposed to be here so we can keep students and staff safe,” Tinsley says.

Tinsley also worries about the rollout for the district’s virtual learning academy—an option for those who want to attend classes remotely. Tinsley says high schoolers in particular are seeing multiple classes overlapping on their schedule, which could make it difficult to get help from a teacher.

"They may have their English, math and science class in the same time slot because that's when they could schedule teachers to teach the virtual learning academy students," Tinsley says.

Tinsley says district officials are coordinating with her to address issues before next Monday. The district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.