MERIDIAN, Idaho — The Idaho Education Association (IEA), a non-profit organization made up of education leaders across the state, issued a statement regarding the West Ada School District 'sick-out' taking place on Monday.
West Ada will not hold classes Monday due to a shortage of substitute teachers. The announcement was made Friday afternoon following 652 teachers calling out.
Teachers called out sick in response to the West Ada School Board's decision to allow K-12 students to return to school on an alternating-day schedule on Monday, October 19.
The district attempted to fill the nearly 500 positions left unfilled. District parents offered to substitute for classes, but due to the background and fingerprint check required by Idaho law, the district cannot allow them to do so.
IEA President Layne McInelly issued the following statement regarding the sick-out on Sunday:
We hope the West Ada school board and administration will reach out to the West Ada Education Association to work together on finding a timely resolution that provides a safe working and learning environment in the district's school buildings.
In a vacuum of rules from the State, local districts are trying to figure out the best approach for themselves. In this case, the dramatic actions taken by the educators of West Ada are a last resort after the district refused to work with, and listen to, their own educators to create the best possible outcomes for students. These are educators who have been at the heart of the success enjoyed by the district and are steadfast supporters of the community.
These West Ada teachers want to be in classrooms with their students but are unable to do so because of mismanagement of safety protocols and lack of transparency in reporting of COVID-19 cases by the district. They are unable to achieve proper physical distancing because of large class sizes and inadequate facilities.
The combination of a mishandling of safety plans by the district and a failure by the state to provide adequate resources have left educators with no other recourse. We hope the district will include input from their educators, and from medical experts, as they plot a course that will get teachers and students back into classrooms—safely.
Facts not fear: More on coronavirus
See our latest updates in our YouTube playlist: