Petition For SMCPS Teachers To Work From Home Making Headway

LEONARDTOWN, Md. — With St. Mary’s County Public Schools(SMCPS) currently posed to start the fall with fully-virtual learning, some educators have begun questioning why the plan would still force them into classrooms.

To the point that an online petition requesting teachers be allowed to telework has already gathered over 2,900 signatures in 24 hours.

“We are extremely concerned that SMCPS’ current plan to require educators to return to their school sites beginning August 24th is unsafe and unnecessary,” the petition reads. “[Maryland Governor Larry Hogan(R) has] stated, ‘We find ourselves at a fork in the road—a critical turning point where we could either continue making progress and continue heading in the right direction, or we could ignore the warnings and spike back up like much of the rest of the country.’”

“SMCPS’ decision to not allow teleworking for teachers is doing just that: ‘ignoring the warnings.’”

The petition went on to point out some current differences between SMCPS’ plans, and public health recommendations that have been laid out by multiple governing bodies such as the Maryland Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Center for Disease Control.

The common thread that is referenced and is not currently on the books for the public school system, which points back to the purpose of the petition, is a lacking of “flexible” worksites and work hours.

Some of the signatories helped to emphasize why they would be supportive of the shift.

Paige Hones, one of the signatories commented under the petition saying, “I have family who attend Saint Mary’s Public Schools and for their safety, teachers safety, and general public health, prefer virtual school for the foreseeable future.”

One teacher from the Calvert County Public Schools, Wrenn Heisler, commented on the petition saying she was happy her county “fought hard to give teachers the CHOICE about whether they worked from home or in the school building.”

Another signatory named Cecelia Saunders, a teacher in Baltimore County emphasized how she felt comfortable still teaching in her jurisdiction because she could work remotely.

SMCPS has until Aug. 14 to finalize their learning plans to the Maryland State Board of Education. The next Board of Education meeting is set for Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.

“SMCPS plays a vital role in either decreasing or increasing the spread of the virus,” the petition reads. “Providing us the option to telework is a simple and necessary decision to help keep our community safe.”

To view the whole petition, Click Here

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