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From left seated, Candita Belona-Sims, vice president of EBRPAE; Valencia Johnson, president of EBRPAE; and Tia Mills, president of Louisiana Association of Educators; speak during the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators press conference calling for a return to virtual schooling parishwide.

No one is going to dispute that the fifth surge of COVID-19 cases is causing real problems in keeping schools open. But we believe the dishonest "sick out" by some members of the Baton Rouge Association of Educators was not the way to challenge the schools' administrators during a serious situation.

The good news is that no schools closed, although some staff had to be shifted around in a hurry Wednesday to keep classes covered, officials of the East Baton Rouge Parish system reported. Several schools that earlier had to close because of staff shortages reopened Wednesday.

Commendably, the concerns of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers members have been forcefully communicated to the school board and administrators, but LFT did not join in the "sick out."

Keeping schools open in these circumstances is a challenge. We wish that teacher groups would focus on collaboration instead of confrontation.

And schools are supposed to teach character as well as subject matter. "Honesty is the best policy" seems to be out of fashion, if claiming bogus sick days is a union tactic.

Baton Rouge teacher union demands schools go virtual because of COVID, calls for shutdown