The teachers want a seat at the table in school’s plans to reopen since they ARE DIRECTLY involved….
This will a tough one for schools in the South where Republican Governor’s are following Trump’s political play book NOT health experts…
The second-largest teachers’ union in the United States announced on Tuesday that it would support its 1.7 million members if they choose to strike in districts and states that move to reopen classrooms without adequate health and safety measures.
The union, the American Federation of Teachers, said strikes should be a “last resort.” But the resolution approved by the organization’s executive council gives educators and their union representatives additional muscle in negotiations over what would constitute adequate protection for teachers and school employees.
The union is pushing for schools to wait to reopen classrooms until coronavirus transmission rates in a community fall below 1 percent and average daily test positivity rates stay below 5 percent — something that very few places have achieved. A recent New York Times analysis found that only two of the nation’s 10 school districts could reopen under the latter threshold.
The union also wants effective contact tracing in place in regions that reopen schools, mask requirements for students and teachers, updated ventilation systems in school buildings and procedures to maintain six feet of distance between individuals.
“We will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators,” the union’s president, Randi Weingarten, said in a speech at the organization’s annual convention, which is being held online this week. She said that if the federal government can support the cruise industry and hedge funds during the coronavirus crisis, “they sure as hell can help working families, and can help educators ensure our kids get the education they need.”
Some online activists have been pushing for even stricter guidelines than those recommended by the A.F.T., with some educators demanding that schools stay shuttered until there are no new cases in a region for 14 days.
Education leaders have said they need hundreds of billions of dollars to implement measures that would allow schools to reopen safely. On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced a stimulus package that fell far short of what Democrats and organized labor have proposed. The legislation would provide $70 billion for K-12 education, but condition two-thirds of that money on schools reopening at least partially in person, a priority for President Trump, who sees it as key to reviving the nation’s economy by allowing parents to work.
The A.F.T.’s authorization vote leaves it up to local chapters to make the decision on whether to plan a strike. The Florida Education Association has already sued Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials to prevent school buildings from reopening in that state, where virus cases are surging…..