Prince George’s County teachers union urges caution in return to classroom push

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan last month called on schools to reopen for in-person learning as soon as possible, but some organizations representing educators are reluctant to re-enter the classroom prematurely.

Prince George’s County has yet to set up a date for opening for hybrid learning, but Hogan’s office has ordered a March 1 deadline. And the governor’s office says it will not rule out pursuing legal means to enforce that date.

READ MORE: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan calls on schools to reopen for hybrid learning no later than March 1

The Prince George’s County Educators’ Association on Wednesday issued a letter to schools CEO Monica Goldson saying its members want to return to the classroom – but they want to do it safely.

The suburban D.C. county has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state since it arrived last March.

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In the letter, the PGCEA applauded the steps the district has taken so far, but cited 19 areas of concern.

Among them, the school facilities’ air filtration systems and hurdles for teachers obtaining vaccinations. They also want PPE for all teachers returning to the classroom, as well as hazard pay.

READ MORE: Concerns over fast-tracking schools in Prince George’s County

"What we’re looking at, is a host of issues that we need to negotiate. The open letter to the CEO was out entry into the discussions about it. Because up to this point, Dr. Goldson has done an amazing job and setting the gold standard on making sure that we are safe by establishing distance learning parameters and guidelines and protocols that work very well for our students and our educators and now we want that great work to continue," said PGCEA President Theresa Dudley.

The PGCEA president specifically pushed back against the date Hogan established for returning to the classroom.

"We don’t want to be bullied by a governor who came up with an arbitrary and capricious date of March 1," she added.

FOX 5 has been told the decision on a date to reintroduce hybrid learning should come later this month.