News & Politics

Teachers' Unions Still Pushing Back on School Openings, Say 3-Foot Rule Is Not Proven

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In case anyone missed the memo, teachers’ unions are garbage organizations that don’t care about your children. American Federation of Teachers President (AFT) Randi Weingarten is particularly detestable. On Friday, the CDC updated guidance for schools reducing the social distancing recommendation from 6 feet to 3 feet with masks. The original recommendation of 6 feet prevented many schools from opening simply due to lack of space.

A study from Massachusetts studied schools with 3 feet and 6 feet of physical distancing. Their findings demonstrated similar case rates in both layouts, leading the researchers to conclude schools could reopen just as safely with a lower physical distancing requirement. A better predictor of cases in the schools was the community’s infection rate, not the spacing. The study also reinforced the finding that schools’ case rates are lower than in the community, as seen in other U.S. studies and globally.

Of course, the teachers’ unions were the only ones that weren’t happy about the news and continue to push to delay a return to the classroom. It was clear at the time of the initial guidance updated on February 12, 2021, that the teachers’ unions influenced the process. Before the release, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky had said that it was safe for teachers to return before being vaccinated. Press Secretary Jen Psaki immediately walked this back, saying Walensky wasn’t speaking in her official capacity, despite the fact she was speaking from the CDC.

With the latest update, which also recommends taking down plastic barriers and maintaining 6 feet of distancing in areas with high community spread, Weingarten continues to put up objections. In an interview with The Washington Post, she said:

“They are compromising the one enduring public health missive that we’ve gotten from the beginning of this pandemic in order to squeeze more kids into schools. I think that is problematic until we have real evidence in these harder-to-open places about what the effect is.”

Schools throughout Florida have been open since August. The state includes large cities like Miami that could fit the “hard to open” meme Weingarten likes to flog. A study by the CDC showed that less than 1% of Florida students got COVID-19 at school. The transmission within schools was not higher than in non-educational settings. The agency added that five other states and six other countries had similar findings. How much data does Weingarten need? What other guidelines is she talking about?

Teachers are generally held in high esteem. Teachers who are union members need to start insisting that their union leaders stop the insanity. Or, in some areas of the country, that will begin to change, especially when we hear stories about some teachers’ unions in California negotiating for bonuses using stimulus money. One district’s union reportedly suggested the teachers get a trip to Hawaii. Teachers who have spent the entire 2021 school year up until very recently refusing to return to work deserve a bonus of precisely zero.

Teachers in Georgia, Florida, South Dakota, and Utah have been working through most of the pandemic. All four states will have their federal funding cut because the legislation changed the stimulus formula to penalize states who kept their economies open. To date, they also haven’t been so bold as to suggest they deserve a bonus for doing their jobs.

Weingarten is a typical union thug. Rather than holding a private business hostage, she is holding taxpayers hostage. The Department of Education announced it would distribute $122 billion from the stimulus to schools by the end of March. Teachers’ unions have gotten their payday. Weingarten said we have to “believe” our children will recover emotionally and educationally in a recent interview. It is time to stop believing and start doing. The teacher’s unions are out of excuses at this point.

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