Hashtag demanding the safe reopening of Arkansas schools floods social media

KNWA

"We are worth the effort in working out something in where we are protected," Rogers Heritage High School Teacher Stacy Richey said.

ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A hashtag demanding the safe reopening of Arkansas schools floods social media as we inch closer to the first day of classes.

Education can’t happen without teachers. You’ve got to protect those teachers.

STACY RICHEY, ROGERS HERITAGE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER

The hashtag: #WeReopenSchoolsWhen is all over social media.

It’s a movement demanding safety for teachers like Stacy Richey.

“We need people to hear what we’re worried about,” Richey said. “Without school, nothing is really possible in a community, so I do feel like we are worth the time, we are worth the effort in working out something in where we are protected.”

The hashtag calls on the Arkansas Department of Education and Governor Asa Hutchinson to ensure several conditions are in place before schools reopen in Arkansas.

Some of the conditions include:

  • increasing bus routes
  • a positivity rate of less than 5%
  • testing readily available
  • providing more substitute teachers

“There is a teacher shortage in the United States,” Richey said. “If something happens to a large number of teachers, there are simply not [enough] people in line to replace us.” 

For me personally and professionally, I would like to see us prioritize what we’re opening and I think education and our children should be a top priority.

DR. MARTHA SHARKEY, RAINBOW PEDIATRIC CLINIC 

Rainbow Pediatric Clinic Dr. Martha Sharkey has been sharing this hashtag.

She said she feels school needs to be back in session, but the state needs to do more before that can happen.

“Opening schools too soon or rushing this and not having these things in place, we aren’t just putting our students at risk and the school at risk,” she said. “We are putting the community at risk.”

Dr. Sharkey said without the state’s help, Arkansas schools will have a tough time trying to solve all these problems on its own.

We can do hard things, we can solve this problem if we all work together and we come together.

DR. MARTHA SHARKEY, RAINBOW PEDIATRIC CLINIC 

Rogers Public Schools Communications Director Ashley Siwiec said the district is currently in discussion with ESS SubTeach and is still trying to determine how large of a sub-pool Rogers will have for the coming year.  

She said the district will also review situations that it can control and may possibly need to reduce times that we pull teachers from the classroom which would require a substitute.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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