Teachers threaten 'safety strikes' over schools reopening amid coronavirus

One of the largest teacher unions in the nation is open to 'safety strikes'

One of the largest teacher unions in the nation is open to "safety strikes" if states reopen schools without taking adequate steps to protect students and teachers from coronavirus, although the union's president said she wants to get children back in schools.

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"We want to be back to school. We need it to be safe," American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten told "Varney & Co." on Wednesday.

"We think that we should be being back in school, and, frankly, in April we put out the first report about how to get there because we know that remote learning doesn't work," Weingarten continued. "Seventy-six percent of my members polled in June thought if we got federal funding and we could make it safe ... we could actually get back to school in a hybrid model."

The American Federation of Teachers approved a resolution on Tuesday outlining its requirements for reopening schools in the fall.

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"Nothing is off the table when it comes to the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, including supporting local and/or state affiliate safety strikes on a case-by-case basis as a last resort," the group said in the resolution.

Des Moines Public Schools custodian Cynthia Adams cleans a desk in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The American Federation of Teachers wants schools to open only in communities with below 1 percent transmission rates, with accommodations for at-risk teachers.

Weingarten warned of a teacher "brain drain" earlier in July.

"If too many of our members believe Donald Trump's hyperbole instead of somebody like Andrew Cuomo's caution about their health and safety, we're going to have a whole lot of people retire early, quit, take a leave at the very same time students need these experienced teachers," Weingarten told "TODAY." "We're going to see a huge brain drain in the next few weeks."

Earlier this month, Trump threatened to cut off funding to schools that don't reopen.

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"In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children [and] families. May cut off funding if not open!"

Meanwhile, many working parents are scrambling to find solutions should their children not be able to attend school in-person full- or even part-time.

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