The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that 80% of all teachers, school personnel, and child care workers in the U.S. have received at least the first dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus.
Approximately 8 million workers in pre-K through 12th grade had been vaccinated by the end of March, following President Biden’s March 2 directive to make all school personnel and child care workers eligible to receive the vaccine.
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“Our effort to ensure that teachers, school staff, and child care workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” CDC Director Rochelle said Tuesday. Walensky. “CDC will build on the success of this program and work with our partners to continue expanding our vaccination efforts, as we work to ensure confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.”
But despite the increasing number of vaccinations administered to school officials, teacher unions have been reluctant to have their members return to the classroom for in-person teaching.
Legal battles have erupted across the country from San Francisco to Chicago, largely around the issue of teachers returning to the classroom for in-person instruction.
In late March, an agreement in Oakland, California to reopen classrooms early for high needs students, including homeless, foster and special needs children, was rescinded after there weren’t enough teachers agreeing to return to the classroom, despite cash incentives and vaccine prioritization. .
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Oakland teachers will be required to begin in-person instruction on April 14, just three weeks after the district and teacher unions agreed that instructors return to the classroom for select students.
But the father of a Southern California high school student, Scott Davison, said that from what he has seen, it is not teachers who are preventing schools from reopening, but union officials.
“I think it is important to distinguish the attitude of the majority: the vast majority of teachers do not share the opinion of their union,” said Davison, a lawyer who helped initiate a Parent Association lawsuit against six school districts. from California and the state, Fox News said. “I talk to a lot of teachers all the time, who strongly disagree with the opinion of their teachers union.
“I think it’s important to distinguish that these are union leaders who have political talking points and political agendas that are trying to demand benefits for themselves, that really go against their calling, which is to help students,” Davison added.
Davison isn’t the only one who suspects that teacher unions have been pushing the narrative and directing school teachers on how to act during this unprecedented time.
Last month, reports surfaced alleging that Chicago Teachers Union officials ordered teachers not to disclose whether or not they had received the vaccine.
Chicago teachers returned to the classroom after a tense public battle, but parents suspect that unions across the country are using the pandemic as a bargaining chip to obtain pay increases.
“It all comes down to these negotiations with the teacher unions and the district,” Jonathon Zachreson told Fox News, noting that after combining each aid package approved by Congress, California has received $ 33 billion in school funding.
“This really has to do with Gavin Newsom’s poor leadership. He effectively closed schools at the behest of the teachers’ unions over the summer,” Zachreson explained.
“These teacher unions are wasting time negotiating more funds, using our children as a bargaining chip,” he added.
While some schools have reopened in Southern California following Davison’s lawsuit, parents in Northern California remain frustrated by the lack of state intervention.
San Francisco came to the nation’s attention after the city forced the district to take action by suing the Board of Education and the San Francisco Unified School District in a last-ditch effort to get schools to reopen for in-person teaching.
While schools are reopening in the Bay Area for hybrid learning, they are still in negotiations with teacher unions.
Zachreson, who lives outside Sacramento, launched one of the nation’s largest petitions, asking Newsom to order all pre-K to 12 schools to offer full-time in-person instruction, a measure already signed by 14,000 parents in California. .
Zachreson said union leaders are using “security” as an excuse to keep schools operating under hybrid schedules to maintain their bargaining chip.
“What I think is happening, they are going to keep pushing these models, these ridiculous hybrid models under the guise of security, to negotiate more salaries and benefits for their members,” he said Tuesday.
The CDC has said that it is not necessary for all teachers and students to be vaccinated before returning to the classroom, noting that the adverse effects on children doing e-learning outweigh the threat of transmitting the virus during school learning.
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In February, the CDC director encouraged schools to begin reopening, highlighting the significant risks children face as they continue to be isolated, such as lack of education and food insecurity.
President Biden has said that almost all Americans over 18 can expect to be vaccinated by this summer. But parents remain concerned that this will not change the attitudes of teacher unions so that children return to the classroom full time.