Sharon teachers end work stoppage as union, school district reach settlement

SHARON, Mass. — Sharon teachers have agreed to end their work stoppage as the union reached an agreement with the school district.

Classes are scheduled to start next week and teachers will be working from their classrooms starting this Friday ahead of a hybrid-learning start to the year.

“We are thrilled for our students that for the first time in six months they will be entering their schools and be with their classmates and teachers,” said Sharon School Committee Chair Judy Crosby. As part of the settlement, the Sharon Teachers Association acknowledged that its refusal to enter Sharon schools for the past three days was a violation of state law, which prohibits strikes by public employees."

The union agreed that it will comply with the district’s decision to begin classes with a hybrid model, where students are split into groups with half the students attending in person for two days and getting instruction by remote for two days. Wednesday of each week is remote learning for all students.

All five Sharon Public Schools will open on Sept. 16 with remote learning. The first day of in-person classes will be on Sept. 17.

This week, the school district filed a petition with the Massachusetts Labor Relations Board, saying the teachers' refusal to enter school buildings was an illegal strike. On Thursday, during a hearing on the petition, the district and the union negotiated afterwards before reaching the settlement, where the district has agreed to withdraw their petition for a strike investigation.

“We have always said our schools are safe for students and staff,” Crosby said. “Sharon continues to have a low instance of Covid-19. Our health and safety plan requires everyone in our schools to wear masks, has classrooms set up to follow social distancing guidelines and encourages frequent hand washing. This has always been about serving our students. Having them back in the classroom will permit us to meet their learning, social and emotional needs.”

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