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Anderson Schools move to e-learning Friday due to teacher absences

The district posted to Facebook Thursday evening that schools would be closed due to a high number of teacher absences.
Credit: WTHR

ANDERSON, Ind. — Students in Anderson will have an unexpected e-learning day Friday.

The district posted to Facebook Thursday evening that schools would be closed due to a high number of teacher absences. Monday was already a planned e-learning day in the district due to parent-teacher conferences.

In the Facebook post, the district said students would be given extra time to complete their assignments from the e-learning days, since some students may not have their devices at home.

Tomorrow, Friday, October 29th, will be an e-Learning Instructional Day. We are aware that some students may not have...

Posted by Anderson Community Schools on Thursday, October 28, 2021

Students will return to school on Tuesday, Nov. 2. 

Brad Meadows, the Anderson Community Schools director of district and community engagement, provided the following statement to 13News: 

"We are currently in negotiations with the Anderson Federation of Teachers (AFT) on a new collective bargaining agreement for teachers and other certified staff. We stand committed to working with the AFT and will maintain open lines of communication with them until an agreement can be reached."

Meadows told our partners at the Herald Bulletin the decision to move to an e-learning day was made because the district did not have enough substitute teachers available to cover for the teachers who had called off. 

Meadows said the school system didn't know exactly how many teachers called off on Friday, since some of them who planned to take a day off decided to work when the e-learning day was announced.

Anderson Federation of Teachers President Randy Harrison told the newspaper "the teachers are frustrated," but said Friday's absences were not prompted by the union.

RELATED: Read more on this story from the Herald Bulletin

According to the Herald Bulletin, the school district and the teachers' union are locked in negotiations over rising insurance benefit costs. The district is facing a $2.8 million increase in the cost of benefits next year and initially called for a 48% increase in premiums. After the union countered with a 20% increase, the sides settled on a 33% hike. 

According to the union, the increase will result in teachers paying $53 to $177 more per month for benefits, prompting teachers to request an increase in their salaries.

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