AFT’s Weingarten Reacts to New CDC Guidelines for Schools
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new safety guidelines for COVID-19:
“We welcome these guidelines. Every educator and every parent starts every school year with great hope, and this year even more so. After two years of uncertainty and disruption, we need as normal a year as possible so we can focus like a laser on what kids need. That is why a safe and welcoming learning environment is crucial this fall for kids to recover and thrive.
“COVID-19 and other viruses are still with us, but with multiple prevention and treatment options available, now is not the time for new mandates. Instead, let’s ensure these tools are available and accessible: vaccines, testing and masks (and no stigma for those who mask).
“We will continue to press for what children and educators need to recover and thrive, including enhanced ventilation; lower class size; emotional and social supports such as guidance counselors, paraprofessionals and nurses; and, of course, recruiting and retaining great teachers.
“We’re facing immense challenges that range from staff shortages to gun violence to the effects of two years of an unprecedented pandemic. While others play politics, we are working to fix the problems by accelerating learning; boosting safety; and restoring the passion, purpose and promise of our public schools.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.