Sunday, July 19, 2020

Randi Weingarten: COVID-19: Teachers are ready to open classrooms if Congress acts

COVID-19: Teachers are ready to open classrooms if Congress acts

Randi Weingarten: Teachers want to be in a classroom — Congress must make it safe
Teachers aren't waiting for a vaccine to reopen schools, but we do need to keep students and educators safe. Where is the support from lawmakers?

We can usually count on a president and Education secretary to prioritize children’s and teachers’ well-being and safety. That certainly should be the expectation during a pandemic. But just as President Donald Trump has downplayed the virus from the beginning, now he and Secretary Betsy DeVos have demanded schools reopen regardless of the lack of a thorough plan, the necessary funding, or the safety considerations that scientists and public health experts tell us are needed.
Teachers are not waiting for a vaccine to reopen schools; they know in-person schooling is really important for kids, academically, socially and emotionally. But particularly as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in many states, teachers and our students need both a real plan to reopen safely and the resources to do so.
According to a recent poll of our members, 76% of educators support going back to school if we have the proper safeguards called for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts — safeguards such as ensuring low community spread (New York calls for a daily infection rate 5% or lower), daily deep cleaning and sanitizing of school facilities, physical distancing, masks and other appropriate personal protective equipment, ventilation, and reasonable accommodations for those most at risk. CONTINUE READING: COVID-19: Teachers are ready to open classrooms if Congress acts