Across the Country, Teachers Unions Lead Fight Against Opening Schools Prematurely

  • Teachers unions around the country are leading opposition to premature schools openings in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Florida’s largest teachers union filed a lawsuit against the state government this week.
  • Rank and file in unions in LA and Chicago are also strongly against premature physical opening.

Across the country, state governments and school districts are pushing to reopen after closing in response to the covid-19 pandemic which has rocked the country. In many areas, teachers unions are leading the fight to slow physical reopening of schools while the risk of virus transmission remains high.

The Florida Education Association (FEA), Florida’s largest teachers union, upped the ante this week by filing suit against Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and others in the Florida state government.

“Gov. DeSantis needs a reality check, and we are attempting to provide one,” FEA President Fedrick Ingram said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “The governor needs to accept the reality of the situation here in Florida, where the virus is surging out of control.” Florida has repeated shattered its record for new cases in recent days.

Unions around the country are also seeing staunch resistance among their rank and file to physically reopening.

United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the second largest teachers union in the country, has reported 83% of their membership are opposed to physically reopening and prefer “robust online learning”.

The Chicago Teachers Union also reported that 85% of teachers said, “they should not or might not go back to work in the fall without a detailed plan and resources that will help guarantee the safe reopening of our schools.”

“Our members have made it very clear that they are not willing to put the health—and the lives, quite frankly—of their students, or their students’ families, or their own in jeopardy under any circumstances, and especially now if the Trump administration is talking about using them as guinea pigs to help jumpstart the economy,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said.

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