The fight to ensure safe reopenings continues

Our local unions continue to report mixed news on reopenings for in-person instruction, with some school employees noting they see strict adherence to safety protocols, while many others outline numerous violations of district safety policy that lead to outright dangerous working conditions. We remind you that you can anonymously report coronavirus cases and unsafe working conditions on our COVID-19 tracker.

Corpus Christi AFT continues to fight for more transparency and communication with its district and the need for better protective measures and equipment, as was noted by CCAFT President Dr. Nancy Vera in a virtual Town Hall last night with AFT President Randi Weingarten and Texas AFT President Zeph Capo.

McAllen AFT this week was awarded an AFT Innovation Fund grant to pay for HVAC improvements and MERV-13 filters at 33 campuses, along with new PPE to be distributed in the district to students and staff. The union also held a question-and-answer Town Hall with members and the superintendent.

Education Austin, our union for Austin ISD, continues to negotiate with the district after we reported last week that some 1,000 teachers were ready to stay home and teach remotely instead of following district plans for a return of some students to campuses. Meanwhile, our unions in El Paso have been successful in working with local health officials and their districts to delay in-person instruction because of high rates of COVID-19 infection, test positivity, and hospital occupancy. Last week, both El Paso AFT and Socorro AFT worked on agreements to extend remote instruction through late October. This week they worked with their districts and health officials to file a waiver application with the Texas Education Agency that would give them flexibility to stay remote into December.