Courtesy of NPR:
The head of a powerful national teachers union told members Tuesday that its leadership would support “safety strikes” if health precautions are not met amid calls for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge.
Randi Weingarten, who leads the American Federation of Teachers, is leaving the final decision to local unions on whether to strike. The AFT — the nation’s second-largest teachers union, with 1.7 million members — also unveiled several benchmarks that it said should be met before schools can fully welcome back students and staff.
“We will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators,” Weingarten said in remarks delivered at the union’s biennial convention, conducted online due to the pandemic.
“But if authorities don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve … nothing is off the table,” she warned. “Not advocacy or protests, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits, or, if necessary and authorized by a local union, as a last resort, safety strikes.”
The Trump administration has been leading the push for schools to fully reopen in a couple of weeks, even though teachers and school districts across the country have warned, among other things, that more funding is needed to ensure safety protocols can be met before doing so.
The union adopted a resolution that calls for schools’ physical reopenings to take place only in areas where the daily community infection rate among those tested is below 5% and the transmission rate is less than 1%.
I am 100% on the side of teachers almost all the time anyway, but I am especially supportive of their decisions to keep themselves and their students safe during this crisis.
In fact, I think going back to face to face teaching should be solely left up to the teachers who will be back in those classrooms, and the parents whose children risk exposure in those classrooms.
That means the federal government, the local government, and the school administrators. need to shut the fuck up and let those who will be on the frontline decide if it is worth it or not.