The American Federation of Teachers threatens to back “safety strikes” in certain areas of the country, if more is not done to assure the safety of teachers and students when fall classes resume.
Louisiana Federation of Teachers President Larry Carter says in hotspots across Louisiana union members are having active conversations about potentially staging safety strikes.
“There are some local affiliates even here in Louisiana who have members and community supporters who are seriously thinking about is it safe to open schools,” says Carter.
Two weeks ago when we spoke with Carter he said safety strikes were not being considered, but Carter says since then the situation has deteriorated.
“The numbers of COVID cases in certain areas have spiked even more so, and the trajectory has not gone down. That is one of the main considerations, the safety for not just schools but the community,” says Carter.
The AFT earlier this month adopted a resolution backing the reopening of schools only in areas where the positivity rate for tests was under five percent. Over the past few weeks, the rate hovered around ten percent but recently dropped under eight percent.
Carter says any such strikes would be an option of last resort, but so far they’re not convinced many schools are safe to open next month, and not happy about the lack of progress being made to make that happen.
“Some of those particular school districts or superintendents have not assured parents and employees that they can provide safety measures and protocols that can keep them and their students safe,” says Carter.
The demands are for more funding for PPE, guarantees that teaching spaces will allow for adequate social distancing, and for more strict protocols should an outbreak occur at a school.