More than 750 EBR teachers, staff absent on the day of the work stoppage

“Even if the teachers are very resilient, at some point.”

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Teachers at East Baton Rouge Parish called Jan. 12. It was part of a ‘sick day’ organized by a teachers’ union to help raise their voices.

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System said 760 teachers were absent Wednesday, but the district said it was average due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the flu.

The school district said in a statement:

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System reported 760 school absences on Wednesday, January 12. These absences have been flagged in Frontline and reflect a combination of COVID-related and non-COVID-related absences. After performing a seven-day average analysis, the EBRPSS records an average of 762.4 absences per day, which can be attributed to the current outbreak of COVID and seasonal flu.

However, union leaders from the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) said their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“We got reports from schools letting us know that they, they had to send people from the district, our whole schedule changed today.” Said the president of the Parish Association of EBR Educators (EBRPAE), Valencea Johnson. “We’ve even received reports from parents of their children calling to pick them up.”

“Even though the teachers are very resilient, at some point we have a breaking point,” Johnson said.

She said teachers have reached this point and are now trying to force the school district back to virtual learning.

“We are not trying to fight against the administration or the administration. We just want to do what’s best for the kids,” she explained.

“The needs fell on deaf ears, we felt there was something we needed to do to draw attention to what is really happening,” Rhonda Matthews, teacher.

Matthews said this current surge is too much for in-person students and teachers to handle.

“Distance would allow that, it would reduce absences and the lack of continuity in teaching,” Matthews said.

“We have already done that. We may not have done this before, but now we have the experience to make sure it’s what’s best for kids,” Johnson added.

A separate teachers’ union announced he was not ill, which could have impacted the numbers.

“I really think numbers have power and if we can collectively use our teacher’s voice, our educator’s voice” then we could move mountains.

Johnson said that was not the end of their efforts. They seek to continue working to make their voices heard.

EBR Schools Superintendent Sito Narcisse said in a statement:

“We are committed to providing high quality education to our students while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. We have taken proactive measures throughout the pandemic to mitigate the spread through continued masking; mandatory weekly staff testing; deep cleaning and sanitation; vaccination and booster clinics. We have continued to keep the lines of communication open to all unions and educator associations in our organization and have been able to hear and respond to the concerns of those wishing to speak with myself and the leadership staff.

Comments are closed.