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Op-Ed: I'm a Teacher - Here Are the COVID Numbers for Schools That Teacher Unions Will Never Show

We’re more than halfway through August. The days are still long, but not quite as long as they were not long ago. The summer heat is still oppressive, but every few days, if you rise early enough in the morning, especially in those few minutes before the sun breaks the horizon, you can almost feel a little chill, just letting you know that fall isn’t that far away.

The summer is winding down. It is time for the start of the new school year.
If you watch the news at all, you might believe there’s not a public school teacher in the U.S. who wants to return to school. I am writing to tell you there are.

I am a math teacher in a public high school, and I cannot wait to get back in the classroom teaching kids! Many of my colleagues feel the same. Last week we were back at work getting ready, and we’re really looking forward to having our kids back in class on Aug. 24.
You will not see us on the news.

Instead, you read about an NPR poll of teachers last month that found two-thirds believe schools should open virtually, offering students an opportunity to learn via the internet instead of the classroom.

You see in Chicago where teachers stood shoulder to shoulder in the streets, with no attempt to social distance,  to “oppose a planned return to classrooms” because they are afraid they will catch COVID-19 from one of their colleagues or students.

 lorida and Arkansas teachers unions are calling on elected officials to keep kids out of class. Earlier last month, the teachers union for Los Angeles made similar demands.

Even with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressing the importance of opening schools for onsite instruction this fall, and the American Academy of Pediatrics concurring, the nation’s two largest teachers unions claim doing so now “could be putting students, their families, and educators in danger.”
Every public school plan to reopen schools I have seen offers families a choice to keep their children home, giving them an online option for obtaining their education. So the risk to families is a nonstarter in this argument to open the schools. Families have a choice.

As for the risk to educators, from the start I have advocated for teachers in high-risk categories to have the option to teach from home. This would cost a little, but still it seems like a reasonable option as the pandemic continues to assault our population. As for the rest of us, it is time to step up, get back in school and do our part to get past this.

 For the past five months, teachers and students have been banned from the schools, but all of us, at the very least, continued to patronize “essential” businesses.

Grocery stores, banks, even liquor stores and tobacco shops stayed open to serve us and everyone else. Many of those essential employees are parents of our students and even our students themselves. How can we teachers claim it is too dangerous for us to return to work while we expect our patrons to put themselves at risk to serve us?
What about the danger to students?

Read Complete Editorial Here: Western Journal
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