VOICES: There is critically important work laid off DPS teachers, nurses and staff should be doing to help kid during pandemic, union president says

A crowd of people protest layoffs of teachers outside the Dayton Public Schools headquarters building on Ludlow Street Friday.
A crowd of people protest layoffs of teachers outside the Dayton Public Schools headquarters building on Ludlow Street Friday.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Note from Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: The Dayton Public Schools board approved 241 layoffs and furloughs on Aug. 28. A piece from School board President Mohamed Al Hamdani and superintendent Elizabeth Lolli explaining the layoffs is linked below. It appeared on the Dayton Daily News' Ideas and Voices page Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Columns written by Sharon Buerger and her daughter Dottie, a sophomore at Stivers School for the Arts, are also linked below.

We do not disagree with Dayton Public Schools on this point: the pandemic means the school year is beginning with severe implications for our community and state, the nation, and the world.

It is a difficult and challenging time for us all.

ExploreVOICES: ‘This is temporary. It is also painful,’ Dayton superintendent and board president say of 241 layoffs and furloughs

However, the COVID pandemic has been made much more difficult for DPS educators, nurses, counselors, media specialists, preschool teachers and support staff than those from others districts because they are laid off.

David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association, said the union has more aggressively trained teachers on the full scope of the Ohio Educator Code of Conduct.
David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association, said the union has more aggressively trained teachers on the full scope of the Ohio Educator Code of Conduct.

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

All school districts felt the burden of adapting to online education last spring when schools were closed due to the pandemic and we had to switch on a dime to serving our stakeholders – DPS was not unique in that.

ExploreVOICES: School board excuses for layoffs ‘are ridiculously out of touch,' DPS parent says

As such, the question which must be asked is why are we unique in this online curriculum that results in job loss, however temporary the district keeps saying it may be? No other district we are aware of is or has laid off staff due to their online curriculum.

DPS has also said at various times the layoffs are financially necessary.

“If all of this seems confusing, you are not alone.”

- David A Romick, president of Dayton Education Association

That seems to run counter to their own treasurer’s comment at the August 28 special board meeting called to consider the RIF/furloughs.

When she was questioned by the board vice president about the district’s financial picture, she said we are good.

If all of this seems confusing, you are not alone.

DPS has gone to a lot of effort to describe what is offered instead of visual and performing arts classes, instead of physical education, instead of preschool, and videos instead of teachers.

Meanwhile, in just about any other district we are aware of that is operating remotely, just like DPS, those classes are still being offered, they are still on students' schedules, and their teachers are still teaching them.

ExploreTreasurer: Dayton school layoffs would save $2.4 million in first quarter

Isn’t there enough work for nurses? I understand there is a “Student Resource Team” in place to check on students and families who might not be connecting to the district virtually.

What a great place for a licensed School Nurse.

Need to discuss your child’s health issues with the school nurse? Nutrition? Asthma? Diabetes management?

Your School Nurse can help. School Nurses also participate in Meetings and perform a host of other functions for students and families which are only made more important during a pandemic.

Isn’t there enough work for our reading specialists when that is a focus area for the district?

Team them up with an academic core area teacher and watch what happens to learning then.

ExploreLog In X Will kids wear masks in school? How serious is COVID for children? How are families coping with all of this stress?

These are just a couple of examples. Yes, this temporary, however, we do not know how temporary.

It is also unnecessary and neither do we take this situation lightly as we continue to advocate for getting all of our educators back where they belong, working with their students.

Dayton Daily News Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson and Education Reporter Jeremy Kelley discuss the upcoming school year with school officials, others.

David A. Romick is president of the Dayton Education Association. The union that represents teachers, nurses and other certificated employees at Dayton Public Schools.