(CNN)Three days into the new school year, and teachers in one New Jersey district already have a lot to say about the challenges of their hybrid learning model.
In a letter to the Parsippany Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Barbara Sargent, the Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association says that the superintendent has “established an uncreative, one-size fits-all instructional mandate that has handcuffed teachers and limited our ability to innovate.” In the 6-page letter, the union, which represents educators from all over the district, outlined anonymous grievances from frustrated teachers at 14 Parsippany schools.From technology malfunctions to attendance issues and cleaning procedures, teachers say they have been forced into a corner with no solution in sight.According to Parsippany-Troy Hills Township School District’s return to school plan, students will be broken up into groups for one week of in-person learning followed by a week of online learning. Fridays will be fully remote so the district can sanitize for the following week.Read MoreVirtual lessons are ‘less effective’ with ‘muzzles on'”Snack/mask breaks are not built into our schedule,” one teacher from Lake Parsippany Elementary School wrote. “I will have to sacrifice Math/ELA to go outside for a snack break.” Several teachers from different schools expressed concern over sanitation measures as it pertains to ventilation issues, cleaning of desks, custodians without face masks and students not practicing social distancing in the hallways.Other instructors report that they’re seeing a drop in the quality of education overall because they’re forced to balance students seated in their classroom with their students tuning in virtually.”Teaching to every student, virtually and live at the same time, turns everyone in a virtual student, a teacher from Central Middle School wrote. “Our virtual lessons are less effective though now because we all have muzzles on.” Teachers have also noted there are classrooms without air conditioning. A teacher from Parsippany High School said, “there is a pile of 40 air conditioners, all new in boxes, sitting in a room waiting to be installed.”Demanding solutions to ‘real problems’Joe Kyle, president of the PTHEA, told CNN over the summer that despite several attempts to talk to Sargent, “she ignores our concerns, refuses to answer questions, and fails to provide, when asked, any rationale or reasons for decisions which do not appear to be educationally sound.”Because of these unsuccessful attempts, Kyle said the union felt it was time to inform the community in an open letter format posted on Facebook.Sargent told CNN in a statement Wednesday that she recognizes that while the first week of hybrid learning has been “challenging, (it) has not been a failure.” “It is unfortunate that a few individuals continue to attempt and throw up roadblocks,” she said. “However, this will not deter the District from completing its mission to provide an excellent education and stability to our students.”We continue to take feedback from all sources, reflect, and adjust to best meet the needs of our students and our success will continue to be fueled by the creativity, persistence, and collaboration of all individuals in our school community.”Kyle said the union isn’t demanding that the district take schools to an all-remote learning format.”What we want is someone to acknowledge the real problems and obstacles to instructing our students (as well as the safety issues that we’ve noted), a list that grows longer and longer every day, and work to create some kind of organized way to address them and provide solutions,” he said.