MEA also organized what amounted to an organized sick out attempt to defeat Goldhard’s reopening plan
An August 23, 2020 letter from Manchester Education Association President Sue Ellen Hannan threatened members of the Manchester Board of School Committee if they voted to back the minimalist reopening proposal submitted by Superintendent Dr. John Goldhardt. In the letter opposing any reopening of school, Hannan writes:
If even one student or staff member contracts this terrible virus, or worse, dies, that will be your decision. It will be directly traced back to this Board putting people in harm’s way.
If there’s an outbreak, and your family member becomes afflicted, then I just want to be clear and I want to be on the record, that is on you. I am recommending against it.
…now is the time for you to know our environment and how risky this plan truly is.
Hannan also complained that Goldhard’s plan “violated” the union’s contract by expecting teachers to answer a survey about reopening while on vacation and said it required “changes to working conditions” that needed to be negotiated. She also asserted the district should provide every teacher with district issued computer devices and phones to work from home.
Claiming “the anxiety level of educators is through the roof,” Hannan chided the administration for poor communication, despite admitting MEA members were on committees developing the plan, and faulted the board for not meeting through the summer to work on and finalize a plan much earlier in the summer. She also chastised unnamed school board members and aldermen for “very unprofessional displays” in social media posts that were critical of the union for opposing reopening.
This is a virus. It can mutate to become something different. This is why the flu still exists…We have members, as we are sure you also have experienced this, who have lost family members to this virus. One member has lost two family members with a third in hospice, all due to COVID-19. This member works with cognitively impaired students,and so will have to be in class with them. What social/emotional skills are we teaching our students when they see the devastating effects of this disease on their friends and teachers? How do we justify to a student that they came to school with the virus and it killed their teacher or their best friend? How do we teach them on the emotional level when they are afraid to be in a room with that many people for up to 7 hours? How d owe assist their social skills if they cannot work with each other, share supplies, toys or equipment? Are we being alarmists? Is this too over dramatic? Sadly, no.
In transmitting the letter, which Girard at Large has confirmed was not sent to Superintendent Goldhardt, any member of the administrative staff or the board’s clerk, but was sent to Mayor Joyce Craig and every member of the board except Arthur Beaudry (D-Ward 9) and Bill Shea (D-Ward-7) who don’t have email addresses, Hannan wrote:
Please find a letter to the Board attached. This may be shared only with Mr. Beaudry and Mr. Shea who do not have email addresses listed on the board site.” Emphasis added.