Dear Governor Sununu and Secretary Edelblut:
During these unprecedented times, we have all needed to take unprecedented measures. Since last week’s press conference, every educator across New Hampshire has worked tirelessly at constructing virtual spaces and supports for their students. It has been a valiant effort that has spotlighted the extraordinary commitment of our administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and every other adult in our buildings. We know that you have seen this firsthand and are impressed with the dedicated professionals we have working in our schools.
Unfortunately, some districts are still requiring their staff to enter their buildings every day in order to continue receiving their paycheck and benefits. We know of paraeducators who have been told in order to be paid, they must come to work to do odd jobs like painting or cleaning, instead of supporting their teachers and learners on learning platforms. There are teachers who are leaving frightened children home alone. We know older staff who are endangering their own health with unnecessary exposure. While some of our districts have chosen to treat educational staff with the honor and dignity they deserve, others have alarmingly dismissed all public health concerns, jeopardizing our educators’ health.
While this not only goes against CDC recommendations of social isolation, it puts an unnecessary burden on our educators as they leave children at home or unnecessarily put their loved ones at risk when they return home. This is unconscionable and unsafe. There are many workers in our communities who do not have the choice to stay home–doctors, emergency personnel, nursing home caretakers, etc. Let’s protect those people by keeping educators, who have been immersed in contaminated environments, home. There is no need to increase the risk of unnecessary exposure.
We appreciate your support of our school systems and your belief in local control. Indeed, local control is a hallmark of NH education that makes us stand out. But issues of curriculum are, and should be, different from issues of public health and safety. Just as you stepped in and made a statement about students staying home, we are asking you–begging you–to do the same for all educational staff.
Please tell our superintendents to tell our teachers and paraprofessionals: Stay home. Be safe.
The New Hampshire Teachers of the Year
- Kimberly Stoddard, 2020
- Keith Noyes, 2019
- Heidi Crumrine, 2018
- Tate Aldrich, 2017
- Ashley Preston, 2016
- Liz Lichtenberg, 2015
- Joseph Lee, 2014
- Heidi Welch, 2013
- Bethany Bernasconi, 2012
- Angie Miller, 2011
- Deborah Fogg, 2009
- Peter Petrigno, 2000
- Barbara Prentiss, 1990