FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 18, 2020
CONTACT: Rob D’Amico
Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented today on Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s statement on upcoming plans for school reopenings:
Texas AFT says a big “Hell No” to what looks like a return to normal in August. We are not in normal times. We won’t sacrifice our members and students for politics. Mike Morath’s comments do not inspire confidence for students, parents, and teachers who would be returning to campuses.
Parents and school employees need confidence that their voices have been heard in a meaningful way before they will return to school campuses. What Mike Morath said today does not inspire that confidence.
No, it will not be “safe” for students, teachers, and staff to return. Morath is following in the footsteps of the governor, who is expanding reopenings and loosening requirements in the face of growing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
While a completely safe return is impossible, most school districts are working hard to provide a classroom setting that will be as safe as possible. These are not normal times and we need to put safety first before any other considerations. We need to use masks whenever possible, instead of Morath’s comments indicating there would be discretion given to districts to base on “science.”
While we welcome the idea of flexibility for remote instruction for children of families with health concerns, consideration needs to be given to educators and other school employees. They need confidence that their concerns have been addressed and that their safety is top priority. Leadership means assuring confidence, and that is what we are looking for from Mike Morath.
Texas American Federation of Teachers represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers.