PSEA Leadership - Demand that no PSEA Teacher be forced to Return to School until it is Safe

President Askey,

We the undersigned educators, parents, students and community members demand that you stand up for the members of PSEA and tell school districts that your members will not, and that students and staff also should not, return to in person education in any school until it is safe.

We were disappointed in your testimony in front of the PA House, especially the lack of support for the groups who have been fighting for a safe return to school.

PSEA must formally declare that we will not return to campus until counties reports no new cases of COVID-19 for at least 14 days. We ask that the PSEA join with the AFT in their resolution to support safety strikes if needed. https://yhoo.it/3fAgKZs

The Chicago Teachers Union have once again led the way in demonstrating the effectiveness of even the threat of a strike action and PSEA should follow suit - https://bit.ly/2PpP8LQ.

PSEA members, students, staff and families lives are literally at stake. It is time for our teachers' union leadership to stand with them to demand a return only when the conditions are safe. Our teachers lives are precious, their families lives our precious, the lives of students,staff and all community members are precious.

While there's nothing that our teachers want more than to see students in-person again, it is far too dangerous for any child, family, teacher or staff to resume in-person instruction this fall. Until it is safe, we must develop and implement a more robust distance learning program for our students. To allow our students to equitably access this distance learning program, we must also demand that our students be provided with all necessary technology, such as personal computers and high-speed internet access.

States and school districts are unveiling reckless, half-baked school reopening plans that put PSEA members, their families, their students, the staff in extreme danger. In every part of our state, our rate of COVID per hundred thousand exceeds the rates of opening in every other industrialized country around the world. Even in those countries that had far better controlled the pandemic before reopening schools, the reopenings led to surges and many schools had to close soon after reopening. We are already seeing schools returning to face to face here in the U.S. followed by almost immediate spread of COVID and many of these schools are already shutting back down.

As we find out more about COVID, studies indicate that 1 in 4 educators have underlying conditions that put them at high risk. We also know that children do contract COVID and spread COVID with nearly 200,000 cases of COVID in children across the United Statea and studies of infection rates now beginning to indicate that children can indeed become vectors of spread. Further, COVID has been particularly brutal for low-income and minority children. Face to face reopening will create another level of inequity in our schools in addition to causing unnecessary suffering and deaths.

The trends and research clearly demonstrate that it is irresponsibly dangerous to reopen school campuses this fall. If elected officials and district officials want campuses to reopen, then they need to implement the public health measures that they should have implemented months ago, including, but not limited to: mass testing, contact tracing, and strict suspension of nonessential business and travel activity. Our governments also must provide the economic relief we and our students need to endure these public health measures, including, but not limited to: basic income, rent and mortgage cancellation, protection from eviction, and single-payer healthcare throughout the pandemic.

As teachers, parents, students and community members, we know how impossible it will be to implement strict physical distancing, mask enforcement, constant sanitation, and hybrid learning on every campus in our Pennsylvania. Even if these measures were magically funded and implemented by August, we are not confident that these measures will keep us safe when Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that the U.S. may soon see 100,000 new cases per day.
Stand with your members and refuse to return to campus until our counties report no new cases for at least 14 days.

Update #1about a month ago
Hello Signers of the petition to demand PSEA stand up for their members. We have nearly 800 people who have signed our petition, but I want to see us reach 1000 before I send this to President Askey. Please see if you can get one more person to sign. If we each do, we can send this with over 1500 signatures.

Best,

Jerry
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