Twitter criticizes Vermont training secretary remarks on COVID exams
A social media firestorm broke out from teachers angry at comments from the Vermont State Education Secretary about COVID-19 testing in schools.
During a press conference Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Dan French spoke about the state’s strategy to offer a variety of COVID-19 tests to reduce positive cases in schools and keep more children indoors. Rapid antigen testing could be offered as a “test-to-stay” approach, where students who were exposed to a positive case could be tested every morning for seven days after exposure. Take-away PCR test kits could also be distributed to those who are quarantined or isolated due to infection or home exposure. And schools were encouraged to conduct weekly PCR monitoring tests on all students (with parental consent).
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French was asked how schools should implement the additional testing protocols while they had significant vacancies.
“You will have to move some of the other employees in the district to speed up the testing,” said French. “Whether it’s paraeducators and so on, everyone will have to participate.”
Criticism of Foreign Secretary Dan French on Twitter
French’s comments have been criticized by educators on Twitter, many of whom work in schools that are critically understaffed this year, particularly in the role of teacher.
The Vermont NEA, the state’s largest teachers union, tweeted, “Memo to @danfrench: Our educators have done more than 3 years in a row. Especially our paras. “
A user named @greenmtjim tweeted: “@danfrench has shown time and again that he doesn’t simply understand education at any level. That kind of condescending, goofy, and completely deaf response to legitimate concern during a pandemic shows how” above his head he is . “
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Twitter user @rowjenny said, “Schools are so thin already, there are no subs or enough adults to cover classrooms. Children with IEPs and who need other services don’t get them,” suggesting special needs children do don’t get the support they need, which usually comes from parapedagogues.
Peter Langella and Alex Shevrin Venet felt that the secretary has shown that he has no control over what the schools are experiencing.
“Now my district is offering referral rewards for all of the open positions … So unreachable. So offensive,” Langella said.
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“Tell me that you have no relation to the way schools work without telling me that you have no relation to it. That’s absurd, ”wrote Shevrin Venet.
Anne Sosin shared information on how Massachusetts tried to resolve the issue, including support for school-based testing the state has provided.
Lisa Hanna summarized what others said in response: “@danfrench, in case it has to be said, everyone is already in. In fact, everyone in our schools is more than” chiped in “. Paras, Admin, Teacher, Allied This is not one A challenge that can be solved by “taking part”.
In previous comments, French acknowledged the challenges faced by under-staffed schools.
“The logistics of our schools are always a bit poor. We don’t have a deep bank in many communities to run our schools so it would be a challenge, ”he said. But he said he felt it was necessary for schools to find a way to run tests that work with what they have.
“My conclusion is that tests must be a priority because they meet our educational goals as well as our health goals,” he said.
Contact reporter April Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.