Hopkinton teachers union continues talks with district, denies recommending remote learning

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While the Hopkinton Public Schools district has been working on a plan for the 2020-21 school year, it has simultaneously been negotiating with the Hopkinton Teachers Association, the union that represents teachers in the district.

On Monday morning there was an email chain being circulated among Hopkinton families that claimed the Hopkinton Teachers Association was requesting remote learning for the entire school year. The email suggested individuals who prefer the hybrid learning model — favored by a large majority of Hopkinton school families (as per a survey) — contact the School Committee to express their feelings.

Reached via email early Monday afternoon, Hopkinton Teachers Association president Becky Abate denied that the union had recommended remote learning for the entire year.

“The HTA has put forth no formal recommendation or demand on which plan the district employs but are simply looking to ensure the safety and wellness of all Hopkinton students and educators,” she stated.

The state’s largest teachers union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, recently recommended remote learning to start the school year, saying it is not safe until school buildings are upgraded to improve air quality and there is testing and contract tracing available.

The state’s second-largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, also has pushed for remote learning.

“We miss our students terribly, and we all wish we could be back in the classroom with them,” AFT Massachusetts president Beth Kontos said in a statement. “But it’s become clear in the last few weeks that an in-person return to schools would unacceptably put the health and safety of our students, their families, and educators at risk. Parents, grandparents and educators — maybe even students — would die.”

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