safety

Trump says open schools. Teachers say safety first. As cases rise, unions may win.

Chicago teachers piled into hundreds of cars on the first Monday of August and rolled their way to City Hall.

No strangers to large demonstrations, the teachers spent hours protesting Chicago Public Schools’ plan to mix in-school and at-home learning this fall to reduce crowding in buildings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff didn’t feel safe teaching in person, the educators said, especially given rising rates of positive COVID-19 cases in Illinois. The demonstration had hallmarks of the massive strike the Chicago Teachers Union waged 10 months prior during a contract dispute with the city.

As union members murmured about potentially striking again for their safety, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Chicago’s near 400,000 students would start the year online-only on Sept. 8. That means almost all of America’s biggest districts will start the school year with online learning – a move largely driven by local teachers unions.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, joined by Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson, right rear, announce a preliminary reopening framework for public schools during a press conference, Friday, July 17, 2020, at CPS Headquarters in Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot,
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Oakland County Names Winners Of Online Coronavirus Safety Contest

OAKLAND COUNTY, MI — Four Oakland County residents this week were named winners of the ‘Oakland Together’ COVID-19 Safety Video and Art Contest.

The winners were chosen by a public vote and created videos and art projects that delivered the message that everyone should do their part to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Oakland County is so fortunate to have such wonderfully talented artists and story tellers in our midst,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “Their collective message is simple and to the point. We have an obligation to our families, those we care about, our coworkers, classmates and friends, and even those we don’t know to wear a facial covering to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.”

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The contest

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Group of Pac-12 players to demand safety measures from conference; boycott is a possibility

A group of Pac-12 football players was preparing Saturday to issue a list of demands to conference officials centering on safety protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. <span class="copyright">(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)</span>
A group of Pac-12 football players was preparing Saturday to issue a list of demands to conference officials centering on safety protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

A group of Pac-12 Conference football players was preparing Saturday to issue a list of demands to conference officials centering on safety protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some players willing to sit out practices and games if their ultimatum was not satisfied.

One UCLA player who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic said roughly 20 Bruins players participated in a group chat involving counterparts from every Pac-12 school to talk about what they wanted from the conference. The players’ demands were first reported by ESPN.

The focus of the chat was protecting players from the novel coronavirus that has resulted in a delayed, shortened 10-game

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Group of Pac-12 players to demand safety measures from conference, boycott is a possibility

A group of Pac-12 football players was preparing Saturday to issue a list of demands to conference officials centering on safety protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. <span class="copyright">(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)</span>
A group of Pac-12 football players was preparing Saturday to issue a list of demands to conference officials centering on safety protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

A group of Pac-12 Conference football players was preparing Saturday to issue a list of demands to conference officials centering on safety protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some players willing to sit out practices and games if their ultimatum was not satisfied.

One UCLA player who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic said roughly 20 Bruins players participated in a group chat involving counterparts from every Pac-12 school to talk about what they wanted from the conference. The players’ demands were first reported by ESPN.

The focus of the chat was protecting players from the novel coronavirus that has resulted in a delayed, shortened 10-game

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Teachers union threatens ‘safety strikes’ before Biden speech

The American Federation of Teachers called Tuesday for “safety strikes” as a last resort if school reopening plans don’t meet demands for keeping educators healthy and safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Union President Randi Weingarten delivered that battle cry during an address to union members, adding fresh tension to fraught schoolhouse debates as President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden take sides on opposite ends of the fight.

The national labor union floated the prospect of teacher strikes two days before Biden is scheduled to deliver a speech Thursday to the group’s 1.7 million members.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is also expected to discuss concerns about schools reopening in a discussion with Weingarten on Tuesday night.

“Let’s be clear: Just as we have done with our health care workers, we will fight on all fronts for the safety of students

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Cost of ensuring school safety complicates reopening plans

As school districts across the country decide how and when they can bring students back to campus safely, a major sticking point is emerging: the money to make it happen.

Keeping public schools for 50 million students and more than 7 million staff safe from the coronavirus could require more teachers and substitutes, nurses and custodians. School districts will need to find more buses to allow for more space between children and buy more computers for distance learning. They’ll need to buy sanitizer, masks and other protective equipment. Some are putting up plastic dividers in offices and classrooms.

While public health concerns are getting most of the attention, especially with the nation’s infections and hospitalizations rising, costs have become a major consideration. Many districts are hoping Congress will step in.

The Council of Chief State School Officers says safely reopening public schools could cost between $158 billion and $245 billion,

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