Coronavirus: Teachers protest across US over re-opening schools in pandemic
Teachers and support staff at more than 35 school districts across the US on Monday are protesting the re-opening of schools while COVID-19 is surging in many parts of the country.
They are demanding in-person classes not be held until scientific data supports it, safety protocols such as smaller class sizes and virus testing are established, and schools are staffed with adequate numbers of counselors and nurses, according to a website set up for the demonstrations.
On Twitter, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association showed protesters making fake gravestones that said “Here lies a third grade student from Green Bay who caught COVID at school” and “RIP Grandma caught COVID helping grand kids with homework.”
Teachers are also demanding financial help for parents in need, including rent and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures and cash assistance.
Many of these issues are at the center of a political tussle in Washington, where Congressional Democrats and Trump administration officials will resume talks on Monday aimed at hammering out a coronavirus economic relief bill after missing a deadline to extend benefits to tens of millions of jobless Americans.
The coronavirus, which first appeared in China late last year, has infected 4.6 million people in the US and killed more than 155,000 Americans since February, according to a Reuters tally. Deaths rose by over 25,000 in July and cases doubled in 19 states during the month.
President Donald Trump has made school re-openings for classroom instruction, as they normally would in August and September, part of his re-election campaign.
“Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!” Trump tweeted on Monday.
Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2020