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Parents and educators say schools must reopen safely

The Trump administration is pushing to reopen school buildings and college campuses even if it means violating the administration’s own safety guidelines. The president tweeted that Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for reopening safely are “very impractical things.” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she is thinking “very seriously” about withholding federal funds from schools that don’t open their doors and, once again, trying to advance her failed voucher agenda. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told international college students they must take in-person classes or risk being deported.

In contrast, parents and educators are stressing the need to reopen schools and campuses safely. “If Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have proven anything over the past four years, it’s that they do not care about students. They have zero credibility for how to best support students, and how to reopen classrooms safely,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “America must listen to the health experts on when to reopen schools and to educators on how to return to in-person instruction.”

A joint statement by leading education and parent organizations, including NEA and the National PTA, said we need to reopen schools in “the safest way possible, not the most politically expedient way.” The group called for a comprehensive plan that includes proven approaches to containing the coronavirus like personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing.

NEA’s priorities for the next coronavirus package include at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding, at least $56 million in directed funding for PPE, at least $4 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, relief for student loan borrowers, and at least $4 billion to protect voting rights and make voting by mail more widely available.


Email your senators and tell them to take action to reopen schools and campuses safely and save educators’ jobs.

163 responses to “Parents and educators say schools must reopen safely

  1. Dear NEA,
    I am a second and third grade teacher at Trace Elementary School writing to you about San Jose Unified School District’s plan to reopen schools in August. I have been with the district thirteen years, and I am well known as an excellent teacher at my school. I am asking for your help. Honestly, I am afraid to go back to work in August under the district’s current proposal. The plan puts my health, the health of my students, and the health of the whole community at risk of infection and death.
    SJUSD’s current plan is to allow up to thirty elementary school students in a classroom at once. If students are not able to come to school, they would be allowed to watch the day’s lesson through a computerized broadcast at home. A teacher may have 20 students one day, and ten the next day; but on any given day, there may be up to thirty. As you know, it is difficult to implement social distancing for elementary school children. There is no way to implement social distancing in a class of thirty. There is not enough space in the classroom. Furthermore, there is not a clear plan for personal protective equipment, sanitizing, bathroom breaks. Testing is not required for students, teachers, parents, or other staff members. I watched Governor Newsom’s press briefing on July 1, and he asserted that recirculated air in an enclosed space for substantial periods of time is a recipe for spreading the virus. A classroom with up to thirty students that are not socially distanced, breathing recirculated air, and without masks for up to six hours a day is an environment that will inevitably spread the disease.
    Other districts across the country have adopted an online learning system that they will be using for the 2020-2021 school year. San Jose Unified School District needs to do the same. The rate of infection continues to rise in Santa Clara County. The positivity rate is at 2.7 percent. This is higher than the 1.86 percent rate of infection when schools shut down in May. If the rate of infection is a function of proximity to other people and time spent with them, then it is inevitable that an outbreak will occur at a nine hundred plus person school with thirty children in a classroom for six hours a day.
    Please, I am imploring you to put an order in place that considers all of these points. I do not want to have to work in an unsafe environment, and the current “plan” puts me, my students, and my community at risk. I have worked hard at my job for thirteen years to get where I am. I am scared I am having to put my life at risk. I don’t want to lose my life, my livelihood, or the lives of my students, colleagues, and community members.
    I lost my mother during the COVID 19 outbreak, and have not been able to have a service or memorial for her due to closings, social distancing, and safety measures. How can the county and district expect me to teach in an unsafe environment with no plan to protect me or my students? Please, put in a health order for Santa Clara County that protects all SJUSD families, students, and teachers. Thank you!
    Sincerely,

    Victoria A. Canote
    916-747-6974
    tcanote@att.net

  2. I am an ESP worker in a NJ school district that is being hit hard by this virus. I feel if anyone feels that the schools should reopen let them join us in September 2020 when school districts reopen. Come to school for the first week or 2 and see how the children won’t wear mask, they will take them off and or have outbursts because they do want to wear them. What if they return to school sick because the parent doesn’t wants them at home with them. They will return to school with a fever but we wont know that they have a fever even when taking their temps, WHY, because that will be masked with Tylenol, Yes Tylenol or Motrin any fever reducer. Then by 12:00 pm when the Tylenol or Motrin wears off and the fever shows, we will all have been infected by then. Come on Senators Booker and Melendez join us, See you Sept. 2020. Aren’t our lives worth something. We understand that educators are not highly valued,but you see now we ARE Essential Workers. So show us and make sure it’s safe to open schools. HAVE A GOOD PLAN FIRST.

    1. The standard Trump reaction to problems in education is ‘Wing it, and goose the economy! It has no plans for how to make a future for our children. Just do it! Manipulation just doesn’t solve any serious human problems.

  3. I am an educator for many years agree firmly the experts that we cannot sacrifice our children and school staff for the sake of politics or threats from uneducated voices. There is way too much to lose.

  4. This political divide, pulled apart by two competing visions on the role government, need to come to a renewed sense of shared commitment to the health and safety of our children, teachers and staff, and community.

    The Nation needs solutions that are rooted in democratic values which should represent the wisest thinking of both camps —
    above party, economic interest, and ideology. America’s history has demonstrated that process.

    Whether we view it as political or not, being united, we must support our schools, our educators and parents, and our communities for a return to safe campus.

  5. As a Health Care Professional, I am not only concerned but scared, that we as a state and and nation would allow ourselves not to take this virus seriously.We have been through only one phase of this illness. We have no combating ammunition against it, It kills people that have it in severe form. It does not take recognition to whom it affects. It has no evidence that it may have long lasting effects or that it may completely keep the virus at bay. In fact we dont know what the outcomes are going to look like. Scientifically the highest incidence of illness started out in the elderly population. We are now seeing a much broader range of age related positives. Do we as a people continue to open public areas seeing the increase in Covid? Do we put our people at risk knowing that we have many issues financially, economically, and politically? Where is our knowledge base and scientific base? Where is our ethical and moral compass? When we as a people make these essential decisions we should all have input. Our decisions should be evidenturay based and morally and sound. Wanda Bouvier RN MHC

  6. I am a high risk teacher. My husband is retired and also high risk. We have taken this situation very seriously and strictly isolated this summer. My two children are active duty military. We have not even been allowed to see our own children since this began. Our summer included trips to visit both–they are not permitted to visit with us since we are in Calfornia. They both have jobs identifed as vital in the military. When the military will not allow parents to visit their own children due to a health issue, how can we possibly think for a moment that it is safe for schools to reopen?

    What precautions will be taken for those of us in the high risk category? The discussion has only been about the safetly to students—I see no discussion regarding the safety of staff!

    1. Unfortunately the voices of educators have not been asked for strategies about opening schools safely. As we see now government officials have not led us in the right direction. To ask educators and children to become a science experiment is absolutely not okay. Threatening to refuse funding is blackmail. This shows the American people that our safety and lives are not top priority. With the funding government does provide still is not enough on a normal year I cant even imagine what it would take to make schools safe. Science shows that many people in closed facilities have caused mass covid transmission. It is only a matter of weeks before school starts and don’t feel the proper repairs and covid adjustments could be safely implemented with this short amount if time. I feel the first semester of the school year should be virtual.

  7. Schools need to open when it is safe for students, teachers and administrators. This is all about political and we shouldn’t be sacrificed. Ridiculous!!!

  8. Opening schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic during this surge in the number of cases nationwide is putting families, children, and educators’ health and safety at risk. The decision to open schools should be data driven and not a political decision. Forcing the LEAs to open schools by threatening them with financial retribution is wrong. Provide sufficient funding to allow schools to open safely, not punitive consequences and threats.

  9. I am a middle grades teacher and I am a parent. I think it very irresponsible for our leaders to demand schools reopening without giving clear guidelines and precautions as to how this will be done. I have a 2 year old, I, and I am sure many parents like me will are not willing to put our children back in day care when new COVID-19 cases are rising exponentially on a day to day. If I therefore, choose not to return for the sake of the health of my toddler as well as my own, am I to be fired? Do we not have a teacher shortage already? This shows a clear lack of concern by the Superintendent as well as the Governor for their constituents and the children in which they are supposed to protect.

  10. Nobody was allowed to care if a student or teacher came to school with AIDS. No cry to “contain the virus”, no move to encase the rest of the population in “PPE”. For the most part, the identity of AIDS-virus-infected people was actually KEPT SECRET so they wouldn’t be “discriminated against”, by, you know, people who don’t want to be infected.

    The Wuhan Flu comes along, and it’s Panic City for a virus that in almost all cases is way less serious than AIDS.

    Get over yourselves. This is just another left-leaning cash grab where a semi-plausible excuse is being used to covet billions of dollars stolen from We the People. Send your bills for increased expenses due to the Virus Originating in the Wuhan Lab, released (intentionally or negligently) into the world in 2019 (VOWL-19) directly to Communist China. I figure they owe the USA about 5 trillion dollars to start with, increasing as needed from there.

    First Guess: When the chips are down, “Parents” will send the kids to school NO MATTER WHAT, ’cause they can’t stand to be around their own monstrous, misbehaving, ill-mannered offspring any longer. Pre-school, “all-day” Kindergarten, after-school programs…it’s all tax-funded babysitting ’cause the “parents” want nothing to do with their own kids, and aren’t capable of raising them anyway.

    Second Guess: You can about write-off two years of schooling. “Home schooling” didn’t work because too many “parents” are so completely incapable of supervising their own progeny that from the moment schools closed, “education” ceased. Their regression will account for another year lost. Good luck making up that time. I don’t envy you for that. OTOH, a high-school diploma was pretty meaningless forty years ago when I got mine, I can only imagine how worthless they are now. The cashiers at the fast-food joints couldn’t speak English or make change before VOWL-19. Two years of regression is no great loss. We’ll never notice the difference because the graduation standards were so low to begin with.

    1. Wow, such a huge mistake at the very beginning. AIDS is not contagious! Coronavirus is. For AIDS there are effective treatments. For Corona, not yet. I don’t care where it came from, only that my family is safe. Yes, this is difficult. No, I didn’t love the home education in the spring. But even more so, I don’t want you or your children anywhere near me given your complete lack of understanding of the virus and probable unwillingness to take even minimal precautions to protect others. Clearly, it’s all about you and to hell with everyone else. How sad.

    2. A: It’s not the “Wuhan Flu.” It’s the “novel corona virus,” which means that it’s something the likes of which we haven’t seen previously, and which appears to be more easily passed along than flu and certainly has a higher death rate.

      B: It’s not even close to being like AIDS in that it can be contracted by simply breathing the same air exhaled by someone nearby, and does not require intimate contact as AIDS does.

      C: Cash grab? Using Public funds for Public education? Where’s your priority? Add $160 billion to the military, even if the military doesn’t request it? Give a welfare payment of $1.5 trillion the richest and corporations with billions in profits already so they can use it to artificially inflate stock prices?

      D: NO proof that it originated in a lab. Genetics seems to indicate that it originated by jumping from natural animal sources to humans. Cite your sources-I use the U. S. intelligence agencies’ assessments.

      And finally, as a teacher who taught for 44 years in public, private and parochial schools at all levels from 7th grade to university level, I’ve only seen low standards in private, not in the public sector. Having said that, your experience may be different. But either defend your statements with objective sources or stop making unsupported condemnations. Thank you.

      1. I love your comment. Thank you for replying to that ridiculously bias statement that is clearly not supported by anything factual.

    3. Huh…..I’m surprised you even have a high school education…..as your comments are so incredibly ignorant.

    4. My goodness, you are an angry person! I wonder what happened to make you so judgmental, angry and suspicious? Have you ever taught? Have you reared children? Have you interacted with a school system at any grade level? What sources do you use for your statements? Have you spoken with any school teachers? administrators? visited a school in the last 2 years to see how they operate now? Your venom poisons any arguments you try to advance . . .

    5. Consider outside learning environments, COVID19 is not a fan of sun or fresh air. Use tents and hand teachers rotate. Prepare students for remote learning on DAY 1. Have a packet plan where students can’t access computers. Always start their days as if it were a normal school yr! ❤️

    6. Schurkey, AIDS can not be transmitted so easily an exchange of body fluids would need to occur. This new form of Coronavirus known as COVID-19 has many scientists and medical professionals studying and seems to transmit easily through respiratory particles. This is why many of us are concerned whether parent, educator or both. Many of us, students included want to return to learning alongside peers but we all want to do so as safely as possible.
      I am sorry for all your negative experiences and feelings of obtaining a worthless education.

    7. I point out that the difference in AIDS and CCP viruses is in the manner of transmission:

      1. AIDS can be transmitted through sexual intercourse and/or blood transfusion. Neither of these are common in schools. Though the intercourse-in-school aspect can be debated, it is generally frowned upon universally when school is in session.

      2. CCP is transmitted by breathing, coughing, sneezing, shouting, mere talking, and on surfaces like door knobs, books, lunch trays, athletics, song, etc. This means that it can infect and ultimately kill many more students and teachers than AIDS, so we need to isolate ourselves even more because we are in the beginning of the second wave of the disease. STAY HOME PEOPLE

    8. You are so wrong. First of all it is coronavirus, and stop listening to Orange head. He has only one thing on his mind him and him alone. People be dammed

    9. AIDS was contagious through sexual contact. Covid19 is contagious in the droplets that come out of our mouths when we speak. I don’t know where you are getting your medical information. You are close to my age. I have friends who have died of AIDS. Wow!! I love younger people and being around them and NOW I KNOW WHY!! What a crab you are.

  11. I should have copied and pasted it, but I also added a paragraph about asking administrators to refute the threat to pull federal funding from schools who do not fully reopen face-to-face, and administrators need the discretion to respond to the unique needs of their districts, especially when it comes to the health and safety of children.

  12. I am a 63 year old women who has spent her work career as a para in early education.
    4 and 5 year olds have an extreme hard time with normal classroom expectations let alone the strict guidelines needed to keep students and staff safe.
    My disabled husband at home is in a very high risk group.
    I would hate to be the one to expose him to the coronavirus.
    I cannot afford to quit work .
    I was laid off in the fall and when cobra insurance kicks in, i am not sure what I will have to do.
    Because my husbands social security is added to my earnings, we do not qualify for any financial help towards insurance.
    What insurance plans the exchange offers are not much cheaper than Cobra.
    At this stage of the game, we are not willing to change clinics and Doctors who are familiar with my husbands health.
    Not sure what to do.
    I know thete are others in the same position I am.
    Lets not be in such a rush to go back to normal, when life today is not.

  13. E Rene Soule

    Let’s roll play school is open;

    • If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?

    • If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

    • Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?

    • What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?

    • Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

    • Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?

    • What if a student in your kid’s class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

    • What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?

    • How will it affect students and faculty when the first teacher in their school dies from this? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first kid?

    • How many more people are going to die, that otherwise would not have if we had stayed home longer?

    30% of the teachers in the US are over 50. About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65.

    We are choosing to put our teachers AND STUDENTS in danger.

  14. Simple matter of insufficient square footage: Impossible to socially distance kids in small classrooms with poor ventilation, even assuming kids will comply with masks and hand sanitizer.

  15. My principal has made the decision- even after 70.4% of the teachers voted AGAINST it…
    To open our school 100% face-to-face. We are the only middle school or high school in our district going to this model. Every other secondary school in our District has voted to implement a schedule that will allow for students to come halftime in person, halftime distance learning. This would allow only half as many students on campus at a time and make social distancing possible.

    Our principal is going with the 3 feet shoulder to shoulder model- with no masks required during recess or lunch. We have not made any accommodations to keep students in cohorts, provide physical barrier such as plexiglass in the classroom.
    She assumes that students will sit there 3 feet apart with masks on during class. When the go to use the restroom they are required to wear a mask- during recess, lunch, and bus trips to and from school, they are not required to wear a mask.

    The state of Hawaii opens the doors to school at the beginning of August, before any of the other states. We are relatively safe right now with few Covid cases due to travel bands, but the islands will be opening in the next couple of months. Teachers at my school are beside ourselves.

  16. Educators need to make the decisions about education including reopening our schools. Talk with the real educators and make decisions based upon their recommendations!

  17. I think we should try to get students back in school one day per week. If 20% of students and 20% of teachers go to school each day, we won’t have the extreme overcrowding we have in most of our schools. We would have space for social distancing.

    If students attend school one day per week, they could become more proficient in using technology, which is a valuable skill in itself. Then the rest of the week, they could be better participants in distance learning.

    Eventually, we should work toward making schools more spacious so that social distancing will be possible and contagious diseases won’t be such a threat.

  18. Children and all personnel in public schools should not be guinea pigs during this pandemic. Safety first! Period! Not only do I have a special needs child that can’t keep a mask on but we live with my elderly mother. There are so many people to think of in this situation!

  19. As a library media specialist between two schools with 1200 students I am terrified of risking exposure to the virus and spreading it and a possible death sentence for me or anyone at the two schools. I am in my 50s . Lives are more important. We went online in the spring when our state had hardly any cases. Now we want to open when the cases are spiking? Please!

  20. While I understand the importance of reopening schools it should not be at the risk of educators or the population that is being served. I am a teacher with a child in the same grade I teach. I don’t want him or myself going back to school in unsafe conditions. Our lives are NOT disposable! Education can continue while we work to reopen schools safely. Why should we be potentially sacrificed in order to appease politicians and their agendas? Teachers and students lives matter!

  21. Thank you Betsy DeVos for implying that teachers and schools are babysitters and day care centers. If the only concern is to bolster the economy by opening schools, shame on you! Parents want to return to work; students want to return to school. If we tear down the education system to the point that there is no one else to care for them because of the lack of proper support, where do we go from there? Support in the form of cleaning, modified classes, education on CDC guidelines, and information. Not sure that any one way will be the right way – the safe way seems to be the best way. Again, not opining that opening schools will stimulate the economy, with the underlying message that schools are storage facilities, not and integral part of our country.

  22. Pushing schools to reopen schools without adequate protocols and with a surging virus is dangerously shortsighted. The schools will collapse when teachers and other staff get the virus. The economy depends on containing this virus and proceeding ahead carefully when the numbers are under control.

  23. Opening after Labor Day (like other states) would give the state more time to get control over the spread of COVID19 and still allow for a full school year.

  24. We must do right by our educators and students. Unless schools can open safely by following all CDC guidelines, we cannot put children, teachers and school staff at risk. Schools must not be used as a political pawn by politicians who think if we open them the economy will somehow get a boost. How about they all go back to their normal work routines first? We need to listen to medical experts who actually care about American citizens, and that means not haphazzarly rushing to open schools in the fall and risking the spread of Covid-19 among our beloved children and cheerished school staff. I for one do not feel comfortable about returning to school at this point in time…it is simply too risky!

  25. I am a retired teacher, deeply concerned about the health of our people and the education of our students. This virus spreads too easily, too quickly, too quietly, and too seriously not to take proven methods of safety before opening schools. I do not think schools are able to confidently prepare With no-spread certainty when reopening.
    For now, better prepared and trained teachers, students, and parents for more effective online learning would be most safe.

  26. I am 67 yrs old and a retired educator. I just renewed my license to change to a “lifetime substitute” as I enjoy subbing for colleagues in my same discipline. They express that they want me to stay on their sub list but I am fearful of going back into the classroom too soon. We need actual action, not threats, from the likes of Trump & Devos. Come on, Congress!

  27. Reopening schools in areas where the virus is surging is a recipe for disaster.Even when a state has been able to contain the virus, school districts will need still need extra resources and flexibility to keep students and staff safe.

  28. Reopening schools now would be a disaster for everyone. Which is most important, being in a building or having your life spared? I’m for parents returning to work but nor if their safety is at risk.
    That is what will happen, everyone’s life will be at risk…

  29. Without a real plan for long term coverage if we get sick how can we return. The quarantine time is 2 weeks what happens if we need to be out longer? FMLA doesn’t pay for our time off. We have been told we WILL shut down its just a matter of time so why even risk it? With no real plan on what kids must follow safety we are just starting the clock on who brings it in and when it happens. Schools had 4 months to plan for future virtual learning why are some districts still saying they have no actual plan?

  30. I am an elementary school teacher with 12 years in the classroom. I am also a parent of three school age children, including a son with asthma. Like many of my colleagues I am a middle aged woman with underlying health conditions that put me at higher risk of dying from COVID-19. I am scared about being asked to return to the classroom with out realistic plans, adequate PPE, or any possibility of social distancing. Mid-career educators should be valued by school systems rather than sacrificed as political pawns. We are facing a critical teacher shortage that will only be worsened by asking teachers to return in the fall under unsafe working conditions. Also as a parent I wonder what districts will do to monitor the health of teachers? One sick teacher could potentially sicken hundreds of students. Teachers are frontline workers and deserve PPE, access to testing, and paid sick leave.

  31. Questions for School Openings:

    • If a teacher tests positive for COVID-19 are they required to quarantine for 2-3 weeks? Is their sick leave covered, paid?

    • If that teacher has 5 classes a day with 30 students each, do all 150 of those students need to then stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

    • Do all 150 of those students now have to get tested? Who pays for those tests? Are they happening at school? How are the parents being notified? Does everyone in each of those kids’ families need to get tested? Who pays for that?

    • What if someone who lives in the same house as a teacher tests positive? Does that teacher now need to take 14 days off of work to quarantine? Is that time off covered? Paid?

    • Where is the district going to find a substitute teacher who will work in a classroom full of exposed, possibly infected students for substitute pay?

    • Substitutes teach in multiple schools. What if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all the kids in each school now have to quarantine and get tested? Who is going to pay for that?

    • What if a student in your kid’s class tests positive? What if your kid tests positive? Does every other student and teacher they have been around quarantine? Do we all get notified who is infected and when? Or because of HIPAA regulations are parents and teachers just going to get mysterious “may have been in contact” emails all year long?

    • What is this stress going to do to our teachers? How does it affect their health and well-being? How does it affect their ability to teach? How does it affect the quality of education they are able to provide? What is it going to do to our kids? What are the long-term effects of consistently being stressed out?

    • How will it affect students and faculty when the first teacher in their school dies from this? The first parent of a student who brought it home? The first kid?

    • How many more people are going to die, that otherwise would not have if we had stayed home longer?

    30% of the teachers in the US are over 50. About 16% of the total deaths in the US are people between the ages of 45-65.

    We are choosing to put our teachers in danger.

  32. I would prefer to know that my grandchildren and family members who work as teachers are VERY SAFE when they return to school. To open schools too soon is undeniably the WORST idea I’ve heard. How many more people does our administration want to die?

  33. As a retired ECSE teacher, I realize that all students have individual needs. Teachers, other school staff, and parents understand those needs far better than distant policy makers. Parents, teachers, and students should be heard and decisions should be made according to their needs. Administrators, and policy makers make wise decisions when they listen to voices other than their own.

  34. As a member leader of Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles (ROSLA), I firmly stand with UTLA and all teachers in reopening our schools safely. This isn’t a political game for our children and our teachers. In our ROSLA meetings, we organize into groups and strategize how to make our kids’ schools and learning experiences as effective and functional as possible. The parents, the teachers, the organizers, working with our school board- we’re the ones who need to strategize and work on the return of children to classrooms. Threats from this illegitimate administration to reopen no matter what, in order to save its reelection bid proves its incompetence and cruelty and inability to empathize.

  35. I agree with other educators that opening schools for the sake of politics is ridiculous. Non-educators have no business making decisions where education is concerned. “Walk a mile in our shoes” and then speak. Otherwise, leave the decision to those that are experienced educators! i ask you, “Would you send your children/grandchildren back to school, President Donald Trump or Education Secretary Betsy Devos? Are you going to provide everything necessary to make schools, staff, and students safe? Who is paying for all these safety supplies needed? How will you advice parents it’s safe? lots of parents are saying that they are not sending their kids back. So, my question is, Why penalize schools/districts/teachers, when parents are the final decision makers?” As stated here in this article, “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she is thinking “very seriously” about withholding federal funds from schools that don’t open their doors and, once again, trying to advance her failed voucher agenda.” I don’t want to hear about your failed school voucher agenda Mrs. Devos, who has no education background! Even the Texas Education Agency is not returning to work until January 2021 because it’s not safe. all this is saying is that you people at the top, “DO NOT CARE!” Anyone else agree?

  36. With the huge spikes in activity and cases, it us nit safe to go back. I work at a super high school (over 4000 people daily on campus). There is no way to enforce social distancing. By sending us bac, you are sacrificing us to the virus. You are creating a bigger problem. Voters will remember in November what you did to students and educators.

  37. We want students to go to school for learning and interacting with each other, but it is important to think in the health and sanity of others. Opening school under this conditions will be chaotic. It can be a disaster for families and the health system. There is more to gain by continuing long distance learning and less to lose. We can continue the teaching and learning from long distance until a vaccine is out or the virus is under control. Right now the numbers are Rising and it makes no sense to put more people in danger by opening school under this Circumstance. Let’s listen to the health experts and not to the ones who don’t care for our lives and the lives of the ones we love.

  38. ALL school staff – teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, kitchen staff, custodians, etc – need to be protected! What happens when 1 kid in 1 class gets covid? Now, what if that kid has 2 siblings who are in 2 other grade levels? Quarantine? For everyone, including staff, who came into contact with those 3 kids? Who fills the staff roles if they have to be out for quarantine? What about their family members? We have to have a REAL plan for all of this! People DIE from this!

    1. Thank you LR Coyle. I couldn’t agree more. I am a classroom teacher. OF COURSE kids need to be in school. However, I have always said, [we] have to take care of the caretakers….(teachers, ESPs, etc) You can’t ignore safety! If you don’t take care of the caretaker, who is going to take care of the kids?

    2. Rob quit bowing to this would be king. Do what’s right for my Daughter a teacher and Grandsons that are young and can’t stay safe! Protect OHIO PLEASE!

    3. ALL school staff – teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, kitchen staff, custodians, etc – need to be protected! What happens when 1 kid in 1 class gets covid? Now, what if that kid has 2 siblings who are in 2 other grade levels? Quarantine? For everyone, including staff, who came into contact with those 3 kids? Who fills the staff roles if they have to be out for quarantine? What about their family members? We have to have a REAL plan for all of this! People DIE from this

    4. I am am a public school educator and have 23 years of experience. My life is not disposable because the upper middle class of this nation view teachers and schools as free public baby sitting services. My life is not disposable because it’s “convenient” for some to allow teachers, custodians, food safety staff, bus drivers, campus monitors, and administrators to get sick and die, so that they can just have their “normal convenient lives back.” The tragedy of the teacher dying in Eastern Arizona was completely preventable, because for 4 months doctors across the planet have said it’s life threatening and dangerous for adults to be in shared spaces, especially those not living in the same household. The failure of our federal government and many governors at the state level to protect the lives, health and safety of working people in this country is unconscionable. The failure of local school districts to protect their employees is utter negligence. The failure of those who hold power to do anything except protect their own interests is disgraceful. The failure of self serving community members to take the lives and welfare of their neighbors seriously is an abomination. If gyms, restaurants, And salons are Not Safe, Public School Classrooms are Not Safe for the Staff who work in them either! It’s intolerable that teachers should be expected to go to work and DIE, so that the well to do can be appeased. Narcissism and Hubris will be the downfall of this nation at every level. Teachers are Not Front Line workers; I trained to instruct and educate, I did not sign up to die, and no teacher in this nation owes anyone her or his life!

        1. Oh this is a political problem because our political reps do not value education enough to properly plan and fund it during a pandemic. Unfortunately they think children and teachers should go to school in order to serve the job market and prove they are a worthy “investment ” Even if keeping kids and teachers at home will ensure their health and safety.

      1. I just retired after 42 years of teaching Middle School Health in NJ. During the last three months of remote learning I worked as hard as I did my 1st year teaching in order to develop methods of teaching online. SCHOOLS WERE OPEN and EDUCATION OCCURRED with the use of modern technology. We managed to do our jobs as effectively as possible given no time to prepared for this crisis, and teachers will continue to develop and improve methods to remotely engage students, because that is what we do — we teach –both ourselves, each other and our students. It is time to listen to the teaching professionals and accept the “new normal” and to work toward coordinating a SAFE AND EFFECTIVE learning environment during this health crisis. Returning to indoor classrooms when we are not safely able to return to indoor dining or gyms is FOOLISH and unconscionably risky to the community spread of a pathogen no one seems to understand.
        Elizabeth Warren and her daughter (a Harvard Economy Professor) wrote a book years ago, I believe it was called the “Two Income Trap”. In this book they astutely explained and PREDICTED how laws regarding education and women’s rights set up the future housing market collapse and point out the difficulties associated with two working parents. Prior to the 1970’s parents would not have relied on schools and aftercare programs to watch over their children, so they could both work to support their lifestyle. Presently “essential workers” need benefits and a living wage to provide adequate childcare in circumstances like we are currently experiencing.
        You are 100% correct- teacher’s can safely and effectively do their jobs remotely without jeopardizing other’s health or their own. We should not be expected to do “double duty” as America’s caregiver’s, albeit WE DO CARE! We care about safety first-for all!

    5. Please make sure that reopening schools is a safety issue and not a political issue made by Trump and Devoss who have no concern for the safety of our students or our teachers only for political gain.

      1. Sorry, Judie-it’s a real, and severe, political problem. McConnell, with the complicity of his lock-step Repub majority in the Senate has blocked literally hundreds of pieces of legislation while adding nearly enough (unrequested by the military) money, $160 billion alone to the war budget, to pay for the requested program. And that’s also while giving away tax breaks totaling $1.5 trillion in welfare to the richest and corporations already showing multibillion dollar profits. This is only one of his “I get to decide” [and nobody else even gets to debate it] dictates, but, like many of the others will deleteriously impact the future of this country for decades.

    6. All true. Presently, when no sub is available for a classroom-the classes with no teacher split up the kids and send them to another classroom-thus increasing class size up in size for the day. This will happen constantly, so social distancing will be impossible.

    7. In addition, how do districts plan to address subs regardless of what reopening plan is adopted? Where are districts going to find a sub teacher who will work in a classroom during this pandemic for substitute pay? Subs teach in multiple schools and what if they are diagnosed with COVID-19? Do all kids in each school now quarantine and get tested? So many different things to consider for reopening plans for districts!

  39. This administration wastes money on arms and crazy walls instead of a crash ptrogram to invest in our youth !

    1. Schools are overcrowded as is without filling them with illegal aliens!Build the walls high and strong!

      Arms protect us from militant forces that would love to destroy our country! Have you forgotten your history lessons? WWI, WWII, 9/11, just to mention a few! Keep on believing the lies told by the right to mindless brainwashed fools! Follow them like sheep to slaughter!

  40. I am a retired public health nurse watching with dismay the disjointed efforts of pandemic response that are occuring across this country. I am deeply disappointed that our President and legislators have not been able to set partisan differences aside to develop a science-based, coordinated effort to mitigate the spread of COVID.
    Please work together to assure that a safe reopening plan is implemented. While I support a return to school, this transition needs to be slow and cautious. Full classrooms will further escalate the spread of the virus in our communities. Our children and those that educate them are counting on you.

  41. PPE’s are being provided for government facilities to open and not educators? Please at least provide PPE’s for teachers so they don’t have to spend their own money for this. We spend too much as it is.

  42. Once again you push this false narrative that education funding is the problem. It is NOT a funding issue, it is an issue where you need to open your eyes. We should not be dumbing down education in history, mathematics, sciences et. al so everyone can pass and feel successful. Success of ignorance is still ignorance. You and your minority focused educational bias ARE the problem, not mo money. You should just go away and maybe education will get back on track and students can return to learning, mainly, the history and culture of ALL American citizens. Note the key word here? K12 education began its downhill slide with the beginning of the massive influx of (worldwide) illegal immigration. So do us all a favor and just go away!

  43. This is a brand new virus, we are learning daily about how it spreads, how it infects, and the damage (possibly long-term) it wreaks on the bodies of those infected. People of all ages get infected. People of all ages have died from this virus. Until the science can show categorically that opening schools – even with the guidelines provided – is safe for children and educators – our focus should be on continuing education online. We need funding to make this equitable for all – including enabling parents who are essential workers to continue to work. I am a retired midde school educator and I am deeply concerned for the students and my colleagues.

  44. Please keep in mind when reopening schools that many schools are not air-conditioned. My classroom use to get up in the 90 degree range with high humidity. This environment was difficult for the students health as well as mine. Add the wearing of masks and other ppe to the mix of heat and humidity and the environment will be unsafe. I would like to request that when temperatures reach higher than 85 degrees in a school building that students and staff will be sent home. This contingency is a given in many office buildings that lose air-conditioning. The same respect should be afforded to students and staff. Thank you

  45. I am
    Writing as a parent and as a teacher. I have witnessed cuts to my District year after year I. The last 8 years (with this year and last having no cuts). We have no extra personnel, we have no extra space. Mandating that teachers return to work without the proper precautions (PPE, space, and even addressing air quality) is unreasonable, reckless and also a perspective into the value of education to our society and federal government. Schools need a comprehensive and implementable PLAN for reopen. Anything less that that is unacceptable.

  46. As a veteran educator, I look forward to my back to school preparations. However, as an individual who is immunocompromised, this year’s back to school preparations included updating my will and granting a family member power of attorney so they can be my medical proxy. I am 44 years old and I am not ready to die. I also do not wish to experience the needless deaths of students and colleagues due to Coronavirus.

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