Mock Classroom with 29 Chairs to Be Set Up on Statehouse Lawn

Providence Teachers Union: 29 Students and Teachers to a Classroom Is Unsafe

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A mock classroom with 29 chairs will be set up on the Statehouse lawn Tuesday to vividly show Gov. Gina Raimondo and others that the state’s guidelines allowing up to 29 people in a class is unsafe.

“There is no way that squeezing 29 students and teachers into a classroom is safe. It is outrageous that the state would sanction this glide path to spreading COVID-19,” said Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro. 

“Just in case the governor doesn’t get the message with the chairs on the Statehouse lawn, I invite her to come to a classroom and see for herself the danger she apparently thinks is OK for students and teachers,” Calabro said.

WHAT:               PTU Protest on Unsafe, Overcrowded Classrooms

WHEN:               Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.

WHO:                  PTU President Maribeth Calabro, with members of PTU’s Racial Justice Committee, will be available to speak

WHERE:             Statehouse lawn

In addition to overcrowding, teachers who returned to schools last week for teacher orientation and professional development reported that many classrooms are not up to standards consistent with fending off the spread of COVID-19. They reported there were classrooms that had not been cleaned since March, rodents, poor ventilation and windows that don’t open.

For virtual learning, Calabro said the state is sanctioning up to 52 students per class. “Distance learning brings challenges for maintaining relationships and connections. Ballooning distance class sizes to double the in-person size shows a lack of concern for the social, emotional well-being of our most medically vulnerable students and of their educators,” she said.