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Educators Should not Return to Campuses for Any Reason While This Pandemic Remains Out of Control

This weekend we learned that SAISD leaders are planning to require educators to return to campuses prior to Labor Day to engage in virtual instruction from their classrooms. We’re disappointed by this decision, and saddened by the lack of focus on human life that this plan displays. It’s unacceptable to ask educators to return to campuses at this time, and we call on our district leaders to change course immediately, and to prioritize safety and human life in reopening plans. It is not safe to return to school. COVID-19 continues to spread, unchecked, in our communities, and San Antonio lacks the testing and contact tracing infrastructure to support even the most limited reopening plans. Under these conditions, no educator should be working from SAISD campuses and no attempt should be made to require educators to return to physical spaces that may threaten their lives and the lives of everyone they come into contact with as infections spread. As public health officials and local leaders continue to caution against reopening schools, and express their disappointment with city infrastructure for dealing with this crisis, we urge that our leaders heed their calls.  

This Spring, American educators pulled-off one of the greatest feats in the history of education. In the space of a few weeks, in-person instruction was transformed and re-imagined for a virtual world necessitated by the pandemic. We’ve heard nothing but praise for the work SAISD educators undertook under impossible circumstances earlier this year. We have proven that we can engage in high-quality virtual instruction from home. We are professionals, committed to providing rigorous learning opportunities for students, and to the task of transforming their lives and supporting their growth. We have dedicated our lives to the service of working class communities of color across San Antonio, and have proven our commitment to this mission. We do not need to be micromanaged, and there is no reason to require us to report to district buildings to carry out instruction. The presence of so many workers at district campuses presents a very real threat to human life. The increased traffic in our schools and the higher numbers of workers present at a campus greatly increases the likelihood of SAISD workers contracting COVID-19, infecting their coworkers, and taking the deadly disease home to their families. For our front-line workers, who have been required to report to campus since the start of the pandemic, this increased presence puts them at even greater risk.   Requiring educators to return to teach virtually from their campus buildings will cost lives. We call on our district leaders to act in defense of human life and to center health and human safety in reopening plans: 

  • Keep all SAISD campuses and facilities closed to all educators and students until it’s safe to reopen them;

  • Reopen schools to students and educators only when objective metrics for safety determined independently by public health experts are met:

  1. Schools should remain closed to all students and personnel until the number of new cases in our community declines for 14 consecutive days.

  2. Schools should not reopen for face-to-face instruction until the COVID-19 positivity rate drops below five percent for at least 14 consecutive days.

  3. Schools should not reopen until adequate testing and contact tracing infrastructure is in place to protect our communities  

  • Provide hazard pay for all workers who have been working on-site during this pandemic, retroactively applied back to March 16, 2020.

Take Action

In order to prevent a massive spread of the virus that will overwhelm our healthcare system, which is already at its limits, we must act. You can use these links to contact your school board representative and tell them not to make our schools the center of the next COVID-19 outbreak: Step 1: Find your school board representative

Step 2: Plan what to say (Click here for a script)

Step 3: Call your rep and send them an email (Click here for a template)

Save The Date - August 3rd

We are also preparing to hold a demonstration on August 3rd in solidarity with school workers unions and nurses unions all over the country. We are working with public health experts to ensure the event is as safe as it is impactful. More information to come. Save the date!

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