The push to reopen schools has taken a mean-spirited turn on Twitter

The school reopening push in Wake County has turned mean-spirited.

On Twitter, an anonymous person operating under the username ChitterChatterWake has begun to attack teachers, the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) and others who are resisting efforts to reopen schools to in-person instruction before the coronavirus is under control.

Tamika Walker Kelly

A tweet posted Thursday directs educators to a study that shows that exercise is a defense against the coronavirus.

“Tell your teacher friends how they can lessen their risk and not continue to fail all students in NC.,” the tweet said.

The tweet caught the attention of NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly who retweeted the post with this message:

“Welp, I knew we’d be back to these terrible takes. They simply took the King holiday and inauguration off.”

Walker Kelly told Policy Watch that she does not know who’s behind the Twitter account. She said it’s a “really negative account” but had no further comment.

ChitterChatterWake also took aim at Wake County school board members. It  accused Christine Kushner, Heather Scott, Monika Johnson -Hostler, Lindsay Mchaffey and Chairman Keith Sutton of using children as “pawns to keep seats during a re-election. No urgency to go back now.”

The person behind the account warns that area private schools already have waiting lists for the 2021-22 school year.

“Hope you’re ready to deal with shortfalls not only academically but financially as well. The NCGA [NC General Assembly] will not fund at pre pandemic ADM levels for the next school year.”

State lawmakers agreed to hold districts financially harmless for enrollment losses this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools were funded at the 2019-20 levels.

The Wake County Public School System and other districts across the state have changed plans to reopen with in-person instruction this month because of a spike in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations following last month’s holiday break.

Wake County students were supposed to return to classrooms Jan. 20, but the school board voted last week to keep the state’s largest district closed to in-person instruction until at-least mid-February.

A N.C. School Boards Association data base of school re-openings shows that 52 of 115 school districts now offer remote-only instruction.

Durham Public Schools has decided to not offer any in-person class this school year. It’s the only district in the state to make that call.

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