Dallas union urges district to reinstate COVID-19 leave days

Alliance-AFT member Hoby Hukill stands at a microphone. on a red table with the Alliance AFT apple logo. People in the background are holding various signs

Local actions you can take to be safe and feel respected

Alliance-AFT leaders and members held a press conference Tuesday urging Dallas ISD to reinstate a full 10 days of COVID-19 sick leave after the district reduced the paid time off to five days on January 7. The district changed its policy after CDC guidelines changed in December and stated that employees could return to work five days after a coronavirus infection if they didn’t have a fever or significant symptoms.

Hobie Hukill, a recently-retired teacher and union leader, said the problem with the change is that it puts pressure on employees to return to work, even when they are still capable of spreading the virus. “If they are still symptomatic and still shedding virus, they must use their own sick days or return to work, putting themselves, other teachers, and their students at risk,” Hukill said. “At a time when many teachers are burning out and leaving, the least Dallas ISD could do is to stop nickel and diming teachers.”

Alliance-AFT President Rena Honea said many teachers have already exhausted paid leave, so they face losing pay without the buffer of a full 10 days.

Take action locally to ensure you get the support you need during the Omicron surge

Members who took our survey on the Omicron surge told us they needed help. While we are working at the state level to get leaders to do their job, we also know that many solutions can only be enacted at the local level. Texas AFT has put together a resource for local unions and members waging COVID-19 safety fights and campaigns for fair pay and increased wages in your districts during this Omicron surge. 

Ten days of COVID-19-related paid sick leave has been implemented by many districts in Texas, and it’s one of the policy changes advocated by Texas AFT. Others include pay for teachers covering classes or taking on additional students, pay for work on Reading Academies, one-time stipends, access to COVID-19 testing, and many more ways districts need to show you respect.

See our COVID-19 Resources page for links to download a document with language and requests you can use and customize for local campaigns for: 

  • Petitions
  • Letter campaigns
  • School board resolutions
  • Local op-eds or letters to the editor