Reopening Update and General Meeting Invite
Our Consultation Team met with district leadership yesterday to discuss school reopening plans. District leaders confirmed that they plan to bring teachers back to campuses to conduct virtual instruction from their classrooms and to prepare campuses for students attending face-to-face instruction by early September. The draft plan operates in waves - the first wave, a “LEAD Team” of 30-40% of teachers, will be asked to return to campus the week of August 17, with two further waves following them until 80-100% of teachers are back at campus the week of September 8.
This plan presents unnecessary risk to human life and fails to adequately address the severity of the crisis our communities face as COVID-19 spreads out of control in San Antonio. No educators should be reporting to campuses until community transmission is under control.
No educators should be reporting to campuses until our city has met objective scientific metrics for reducing cases, infections, positivity rates, and has adequate testing and contact tracing infrastructure in place. The situation our San Antonio community faces is dire, with over 1500 new cases of COVID-19 in the city yesterday, and 12 new deaths. A Texan is dying every 6 minutes and 16 seconds from COVID-19. Young people aged 10-19—school aged children and teenagers—-had the highest positivity rate average over the past two weeks in Austin. This is not the time to force educators back to campuses, into congregate settings where the risk of transmission is substantially increased. Teachers can conduct virtual instruction from their homes—as we demonstrated this Spring—and the benefits of access to classrooms and classroom tools for some are vastly outweighed by the danger this plan poses to us all.
We understand that some teachers want to return to their classrooms. We understand that not all of us are able to work successfully from home. But it’s essential that we move away from the idea that public health decisions that impact all of us should be left to the individual choices of teachers, parents, or students. These decisions have consequences for our entire community and should be made at the community—not the individual—level. We’re facing an unprecedented crisis and, potentially, a public health disaster in Bexar County. We must put human life and the safety of our communities first and our personal preferences about returning to work second. The public health recommendations from local experts are clear: we must not reopen our schools or return to campuses at this time. It’s simply not safe to reopen schools—not to students, not to teachers. No one should be reporting to campuses under these conditions. It’s time for us to tell it like it is: this plan will cost lives and cause life-long health complications for many of those who survive it. We should resist district plans that put the lives of our students and their families at risk. Our primary responsibility is to act in defense of human life. We can only meet our responsibility to educate our students once we have ensured they and their families are safe. We call all SAISD educators, workers, students, and families into this fight for the safety of our community. Act now in defense of human life.
Call and email district leaders and tell them not to reopen schools until it’s safe - no staff should be required to report to campuses during this pandemic, and all distance learning work can be carried out safely from home.