Amid US-dominated COVID-19, the teachers’ union has authorized its members to strike if they are forced to go back to school without adequate security measures. About 152,320 deaths have been reported in over 4.49 million cases across the country.
While the US president, Mr. Donald Trump is pushing for the re-opening of schools, the American Federation of Teachers(AFT) is backing strikes against the re-opening without ensuring safety measures.
On Tuesday, the association, which represents approximately 1.7 million employees, issued a resolution declaring that it would support any local chapter that chooses to strike over the reopening plans.
The association recommends resuming schools if security measures have only been taken or if the rate of new infections is sufficiently low.
At the announcement of the resolution, Federal President Randi Weingarten criticized President Donald Trump for ordering the reopening of schools in the face of increasing virus cases.
He described Trump’s order as chaotic and catastrophic, adding that it made teachers angry and scared.
In a prepared remark to the group’s annual congress, he said that the union would fight on all fronts for the safety of its students and educators.
He added that if the authorities do not ensure the safety and health of those who represent and serve the union, as the Executive Council decided last week, nothing appears to be off the table.
Union leaders approved these resolutions on Friday but were announced on Tuesday during their convention, which took place online amid the current pandemic.
The United States has been pushing for school resumption for weeks. When he pressed for the reopening of the country’s schools last week, the US president admitted that some schools may have to delay the return to personal instruction, but asked Congress if possible to withhold future virus funding for schools that are not reopening.
Some schools have chosen to resume learning, but online. Also, some schools in the largest districts of the country, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston, have chosen a mix of online and face-to-face classes to reduce the number of students in the school building.
In its resolution, the union outlines some of the conditions that schools have to ensure for re-opening. Schools need to ensure the use of face masks, promote social distance, update ventilation systems, and so on.
It added that schools should be opened if the infection and transmission rate is below 5% and 1%, respectively.
The group also said it will require more funding so that some schools can reopen safely. According to their estimates, an average school needs at least $1.2 million to open safely. This amounts to $116 billion nationwide. The union also criticized Trump’s government for failing to negotiate and pass a new stimulus bill to address the resources urgently needed to reopen schools. Although the White House and Senate Republican had previously adopted a stimulus package that included a $105 billion package to schools and colleges, it only covered schools that will open in-person instructions.
Charalotte Griffith is assignment Journalist at Chroniclex, Charalotte has covered Business, Politics and many other beats in her Journalism career and is currently living in Cleveland for more than 15 years. Charalotte has appeared periodically on national television shows and also has published her articles many regional publications such as Huffington Post and Mashable etc.