‘Good first step’: Teachers union tepidly endorses CDC roadmap to open schools without requiring teacher vaccinations

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Credit: ESI
Credit: ESI

Calling the CDC’s proposals [to reopen US schools] “an informed, tactile plan,” [American Federation of Teachers president Randi] Weingarten said it “has the potential to help school communities around the country stay safe by defining the mitigation and accommodation measures, and other tools educators and kids need, so classrooms can once again be vibrant places of learning and engagement.”

Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, called the roadmap “a good first step.”

It also made clear that while states should prioritize teachers for vaccination, it is not a prerequisite for reopening.

That has been a sticking point in crowded, urban school districts like Chicago, which is the nation’s third largest and where many teachers have made it clear they won’t return to the classroom until they’ve received the Covid-19 vaccination.

“I’m happy that they are giving priority to teachers, under the previous timeline that wasn’t the case,” said Diana Muhammad, 38, a physical education and dance teacher. 

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President Joe Biden has set a goal of having more than 50 percent of the nation’s schools reopened by the 100th day of his presidency. And the most recent numbers from Burbio, a data service that audits school opening information, suggests the goal is attainable.

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