By Tiffany Chan

DANVERS (CBS) – Rallies held by teachers and parents clashed in Danvers Monday. With just a few weeks until the start of the school year, dozens of teachers rallied outside of the Holten Richmond Middle School, pushing to keep students at home.

Under a hybrid model, students would spend two days out of the week in the classroom, but teachers in Danvers say they’d be there five days a week, seeing dozens of students at a time, which could pose a risk to their health and their families.

“If we contract COVID through school, we’re going to bring it home, so it’s very concerning,” said biology teacher Andy Bertolino.

Danvers teachers hold rally about school safety (WBZ-TV)

“There’s a ton of anxiety,” said Amy O’Connor, a teacher and mother of two. She said without proper classroom ventilation, it’s just not safe to see students in-person during a pandemic. “This is an airborne virus. We want to make sure we have the correct ventilation. I think that’s really the most important thing here.”

Just steps away, some parents argued if it is safe to go grocery shopping, then it is safe to go back to work.

“I think they’re blowing it out of proportion,” one woman said.

Parents rally across from teachers in Danvers (WBZ-TV)

“If you’re distancing and you’re safe with a mask out here, I just can’t understand why you can’t be safe indoors teaching,” another woman said.

“My mother works in a hospital and she’s been doing it for the whole pandemic and she’s been fine,” one young girl said.

But the teachers say they shouldn’t have to take that risk, especially when lives are at stake.

“We just want to keep everyone safe,” Amy O’Connor said.

Tiffany Chan

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