Re: The front-page Aug. 13 article about teachers being likely to return to school (“In survey, most Maine teachers want to return, but still worry about safety”):

This article is misleading in that it announces that the state Education Department survey found teachers are likely to return if schools open, but the survey does not mention that the choice teachers face is either return to school or lose their jobs.

Of course most of them will return if schools open: Most of them cannot afford to lose their jobs. If 76 percent of them are concerned for their personal safety, and 82 percent are concerned for the students’ safety, no one should be returning to schools this fall.

Forcing our teachers to choose between working in conditions where they do not feel safe or having to quit their jobs is a human rights violation. I am a working parent with a child in the Portland school system and want my child back in school as much as everyone else, but not at the expense of staff and student safety.

Don’t talk about the reopening proposal’s details when the majority of our teachers feel unsafe. This is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Let them perfect and improve the remote learning scenario until COVID is under control.

At the very least, let the teachers who do not feel safe stay home, and if some feel comfortable working in person, then let them serve the students who are most in need, and let’s spend our time now figuring out how that could work.

Sharon McGauley
Portland

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