I truly don't want to throw anyone under the bus here, but things are getting heated between the Rockford Teacher's Union and Dr. Sandra Martell, Director of the Winnebago County Health Department.

During WCHD's press conference on Monday, Dr. Martell was discussing the rise of COVID cases in Rockford-area schools when she made a comment saying teachers and school staff "have not been diligently following mitigation guidelines to keep the coronavirus at bay" according to mystateline.com.

I watched parts of Monday's press conference, and honestly I missed that comment by Dr. Martell, but if I had heard it, I'm pretty sure I would have said, "hey, that's not a fair thing to say!".

The Rockford Education Association did not miss the comment though, and they weren't having it. Mystateline.com received a copy of the statement released to Dr. Martell by the REA that said;

The Rockford Education Association will not stand by and allow you to cast blame on our educators. After hearing your statements from your 9/21 press conference, any concerns that you have with implementation of what teachers warned you repeatedly all summer was a flawed plan, we would ask that you take up with RPS Central Administration and the Rockford Public Schools Board of Education. We are appalled that you would publicly shame the women and men on the ground floor who are risking their health and the health of their loved ones to provide the monumental service of educating our community’s children in the face of a pandemic. Rockford educators are working tirelessly to implement with fidelity the district plan that you championed

I get it. Emotions during this pandemic are running at an all time high, and that often leads to us saying things we wish we hadn't. Again, I don't want to place blame on anyone, but I will say this; teachers are working their butts off right now in uncharted territory, and very often without any firm guidance or instructions. They are literally taking it one day at a time and always planning for the worst, so to say they aren't following guidelines is completely unfair. Everyone is doing the best they can.

Dr. Martell did respond to the REA's statement according to mystateline.com, and in her response she said she wants adults to take more responsibility for what they are doing outside of the school. The statement said in part;

The disproportionate number of adult cases within the school environments is concerning.  Adults have greater control and authority over their lives and potential exposures than children.  The ask of all adults, including teachers and parents/guardians, is to exercise this control and be intentional in our actions inside and outside the school environment to reduce the risk inside schools during the pandemic.  There was no intent to diminish the professional role of teachers in our community.  I value and respect the work of all those in the schools and I know that COVID-19 has caused many disruptions.  I appreciate all the efforts that have been made by so many, including teachers, administrators, parents and students.

The responsibility is on all of us. Wear your mask. Follow social distancing. Simple as that.

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