The president of the American Federation of Teachers warned Wednesday that strikes due to unsafe working conditions in schools were possible in Texas, Florida and Arizona — all states with high coronavirus infection rates.
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“If people die while they are educating kids, you eviscerate any credibility that you would have going forward about whether or not a school is safe,” Randi Weingarten told POLITICO.
Earlier this month the American Federation of Teachers, which represents over 1.7 million educators, adopted a resolution that demands the only schools that should reopen for in-person instruction should be in places where the infection rate of COVID-19 is below 5 percent.
The group also said that schools should only reopen if those educators who are at high risk of getting the virus have access to special accommodations and authorities agree to shut the school down should there be a spike in cases. Some of the demands include social distancing, gloves, updates to the building’s ventilation system and face coverings.
“You can’t say, at the end, ‘OK, I just give up.’ You have to actually be true to your convictions … and if that means a safety strike as a last resort, that’s what it means. If you believe that the safety and health of people are really sacrosanct, then you’ve got to be able to sacrifice for it,” Weingarten said.
Many states are still facing record-high numbers of coronavirus cases as the debate over whether schools should have in-person classes has reached a boiling point.