AMPR recommends remote work for teachers
By John McPhaul
Taking into consideration complaints from the teaching profession and observing how cases of COVID-19 continue to rise on the island, the president of the Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish initials), along with representatives of the association’s union, recommended to Education Secretary Eligio Hernández on Tuesday that the best option is for teachers to continue working from their homes at least until the end of the year.
“In recent days, the Department of Education (DE) announced the plan to return to school in the face of the pandemic, and several alternatives were discussed,” AMPR President Elba Aponte Santos said at a press conference. “Certainly, the situation is not easy because we have many teachers who have their health compromised and we are not going to expose them.”
Aponte Santos said no teacher should be called to report to her or his campus until the Education Department conducts molecular tests like those administered to other employees.
“If the teachers were to work in person, the first thing is to do the COVID-19 tests as they did with other DE employees,” she said. “The tests are necessary in case you have to return in person.”
Grichelle Toledo, secretary general of the AMPR-Local Union, added that “the reality is that teachers also have children and at school ages, so we believe that, ideally, teachers should be allowed to work remotely.”
“This would help teachers who have children to be more relaxed doing their work remotely, while helping their children,” Toledo said.
Aponte Santos added that “the idea is that teachers who want to work from their workplace can do it and those who have the need for remote work can do so.”
“In addition, we suggest that a health and safety committee be appointed at each school,” she said. “This committee must have a teacher from each level and category, and the delegate of the AMPR-Local Union must also be included.”