Teachers Rally For Safety Amid COVID-19 Spike

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Graphic for Texas Teachers school safe opening

Teachers Are Rallying In Austin On Saturday For A Safe School Reopening Plan

Austin, TX – Parents and even older students have been actively asking for opinions, advice and venting about schools reopening on Texas across social media channels. While many teachers and staff are also concerned and/or afraid, they don’t have the same options offered to parents and students. Not all teachers and staff can “check a box” on a survey and choose to teach virtually from the safety of their own home.

Notice we said “safety” and not “comfort”, because as many teachers and support staff have shared, working from home isn’t always ideal for them either. They might be juggling their own children, or pets, or maybe have a family member that’s home sick. But at the moment, many don’t feel like their safety or concerns are being taken into account when it comes to reopening schools safely.

On Saturday, July 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM, teachers and school staff from across Texas will rally in Downtown Austin to protest Governor Abbott’s and the Texas Education Agency’s unsafe school reopening plan. Participants can attend/support the rally online, or in person via a car caravan and socially distanced sit-in. The caravan will circle the Capitol and TEA buildings along Guadalupe St, 11th St, Trinity St and MLK Jr Blvd.

According to the organizers, “We are giving names and faces to the word teacher. We are people with needs and concerns. We are desperate to return to school, but it must be safe for Texas teachers, staff and children.”

This effort is in addition to the hard work of campus, district and union leaders across the state. We seek to elevate the voices of over 8,000 individuals who have already expressed interest in the event.

Organized by teachers for Safe School Opening, the rally centers on the following demands:

  1. Require virtual instruction until county infection rate is below 0.5% of the population.
  2. Hazard pay for all staff working on campus whether with students or teaching virtually.
  3. Protected paid sick leave for COVID related illnesses, in addition to our regular state and
    local leave, for us or if we are out to care for our children.
  4. Mandating that substitute pay is paid for by the district and NOT the teacher.
  5. Districts must cover all out of pocket medical expenses for staff diagnosed with COVID.
  6. Take CARES Act money back from TEA and give it to the districts it was promised to.
  7. Free COVID testing for all school staff.
  8. Allow staff to work virtually if anyone in their household is immunocompromised.

The social-media rally and in-person rally toolkits are posted on the event page.
For more information, please visit the event page at: https://bit.ly/MarchForTXTeachers

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