LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Mike Poore, the superintendent of the Little Rock School District sent an email Sunday in response to the Little Rock Education Association moving to not attend in-person classes citing coronavirus concerns.
The LREA has since voted to call-off the action after disciplinary action was issued to the 69 teachers in the district who sent in the letters.
"As we have stated previously, we understand that our parents need our schools to be open and we are committed to doing everything we can to avoid disruption to the learning environment," the statement reads.
In the letter, Poore pointed out the district has no new positive cases to report and that the "latest rate of new cases for a 14-day period is now down to 14 positive COVID cases per 10K residents in the LRSD community (Residents means students, staff, parents and community within the Little Rock School District boundary)."
This comes on the same day as 23 new coronavirus deaths were reported throughout the state, despite there being 465 confirmed cases.
The letter went on to ensure the measures that are being put in place throughout the district to maintain the health and wellbeing of students and staff, such as implementing COVID screenings for staff at each building and providing masks for alls students and staff, adding that LRSD purchased 3-million masks.
The president of LREA, Teresa Knapp, said of the decision, "We all want our lives to return to normal. That isn't going to happen unless we take the necessary steps to keep everyone safe and healthy. We are willing to do what it takes."
Despite the LREA decision, Poore said the district is taking additional steps to continue having in-person classes this week.
"All schools will be open, buses will run, and meals will be served," he said in the letter.
Poore also mentioned that there were 71 total requests made for accommodations in the workplace.
On Monday, in response to LREA referencing "unsafe work conditions" such as facilities not being properly cleaned and disinfected and that employees and students aren't wearing masks or wearing them improperly, LRSD responded with the following statement:
Governor Hutchinson’s statement on LREA motion:
“We have had a good start to this school year and we have handled the expected challenges with the wellbeing of our students and teachers as the highest priority. With a declining positivity rate in Pulaski County and with the safety measures in place, it is difficult to understand the resistance to teaching in the classroom. The Little Rock School District should not be deprived of the success that is occurring for our students across the state just because the union objects.”