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Puyallup Education Union Pres: ‘We only have one shot to do this right’


The Puyallup School District is on the verge of welcoming back some students to school buildings as part of a phased-in reopening. But there are still concerns regarding safety as some in the education union are worried that it’s all moving too fast.

“Well, our chief concern is that the numbers are rising in Pierce County,” said Karen McNamara, president of the Puyallup Education Association Union. “They came out with numbers again today that have now gone up higher than they were the last few days. And we are concerned that the more people we bring into the schools, the more (chance) that if there is an outbreak, it could spread.”

“We have had our staff back, for the most part, in the building since the beginning of school, and we haven’t had most kids yet, though we brought back special ed kids today, but most of our staff has been back for a couple weeks,” she added. “We know our district is trying very hard to do what they can, but there is PPE that some of our people feel that they need to be given. And once the news came in from the Tacoma School District last weekend that their staff were being given N95 masks, then there was a problem. My staff read that because most of them were not given N95 masks, and that’s a concern for them.”

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KTTH’s Jason Rantz noted that McNamara gave an interview on King 5 recently in which she asked: “Which student and which staff do we want to lose?”

Does she regret that statement?

“I’m going to stand by that, Jason,” McNamara said. “I was asked that question in context of whether people felt that this was serious. And I’m going to tell you that I do believe it is serious and, yes, while that might be melodramatic, it’s not really if you think about it. We’ve just passed worldwide one million people dying of this disease. We have 200,000 deaths in the United States. The numbers are rising in our area.”

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“We know our district wants to send us back safely, but we’re also concerned that if this gets out of hand and we have brought kids in, and suddenly we have to cut it off because the numbers rise and we have to go back into another thing, it’s going to be terrible,” she continued. “Why don’t we just take a little more time, make sure that the numbers are going down, and that it’s really safe to return? Because we only have one shot to do this right.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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