A teachers’ union in North Carolina has introduced a long list of demands that need to be met before schools can reopen. The Durham Association of Educators is calling for widescale and sweeping social programs such as universal health care, welfare benefits for illegal immigrants, and a suspension of rents and mortgages.
Last week, the DAE released a “Statement on School Re-Open Plans.” The teachers’ union says, “COVID-19 is a game of Russian Roulette, in which BIPOC communities are disproportionately killed.”
The union claims that politicians “are under enormous pressure to re-open schools, no matter the risk,” and “they are prepared to let us get sick and die.” The announcement states: “Trump, DeVos, and Berger want schools to open because they care about protecting wealth and big business.”
The DAE says schools can not reopen “until COVID-19 transmission rates are much lower than they are now,” and the union instructs Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to completely shut down North Carolina.
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The union calls for sweeping social programs in its reopening demands statement.
“There are concrete policies that have permitted other countries to flatten the curve and return to public life: moratoriums on rent and mortgage, universal health care, direct income support regardless of immigration status,” the statement reads.
Last week, Cooper unveiled his plan to reopen North Carolina schools in August. The plan is to have children attend in-person classes every other day or every other week that will feature “moderate social distancing.”
“We know that school will look a lot different this year,” Cooper said last Tuesday. “They have to in order to be safe and effective. The public health experts and the school leaders developed these safety rules to protect our students and teachers and their families.”
Teachers have balked at Cooper’s school reopening plan.
The DAE isn’t the only teachers’ union to utilize the coronavirus shutdown to push overtly progressive policies. The 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles union demanded the defunding of police, the end of charter schools, and for financial support of undocumented students and their families.
The New Jersey Education Association has proposed a strict reopening plan that involves weekly COVID-19 tests for all students, social distancing of six feet at all times, and door-to-door mandatory masks.
Dawn Hiltner, a spokeswoman for the NJEA, said teachers fear that sending children back to school in September could endanger both children and teachers.