Teachers' Union President Randi Weingarten On New School Closures: 'There's a Lot of Stress'
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 3 weeks ago • 6 comments
By: Jim Geraghty (National Review)
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., in 2016. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
As noted yesterday, the Covid-relief bill passed in early 2021, a.k.a. the American Rescue Plan, allocated $130 billion "to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools." Since the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. government has allocated more than $190 billion in aid to help schools reopen and respond to the effects of the pandemic.
And apparently all of that spending didn't do a darn bit of good:
After a holiday break that saw Covid-19 cases spike unrelentingly, a small but growing list of districts — including Newark, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Cleveland — moved temporarily to remote learning for more than 450,000 children.
Districtwide closures, even those that last for a week or two, are a step backward after months in which classrooms largely remained open, even during a fall surge of the Delta variant. . . .Some families were given just a few days or even hours of notice about school closures, leading to the all-too-familiar pandemic scramble to adjust child-care arrangements and work schedules. Atlanta Public Schools, for instance, announced on Saturday that classes would be online for the first week of January, just days after saying that classes would be held in person.
Unsurprisingly, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten is arguing that schools just don't have any choice but to close their doors and go back to distance learning: "There are very real logistical decisions schools are making. We know kids do better in person, but the spike is real. We need adequate staff & the safety measures in place including testing, masking ventilation. There is a lot of stress."
Hear that, America? Kids have to stay home, even after spending $190 billion to keep schools open because there's a lot of stress!
After 81 Philadelphia schools shifted to distance learning, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is complaining that the school district rejected its proposal for "a 7-day pause on in-person learning to effectively plan for adequate mitigation measures."
Teachers and other school staff have had the option to get vaccinated against Covid-19 since early 2021, and in some states, were bumped to the front of the line. Teenagers have been eligible to get vaccinated since May, and kids age five to eleven have been eligible to get vaccinated since November. The CDC made all adults eligible for boosters in November. Any adult who is unvaccinated or unboosted at this point is unvaccinated or unboosted by choice.
Omicron is less virulent than other strains. The risk of hospitalization and death is lower than with other strains. The risk to children from Covid-19, while not nonexistent, has always been low.