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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Teachers union catalogs hundreds of COVID-19 safety violations as Texas schools reopen

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 10:48 AM

A Texas teacher and her husband attend a recent protest over the state's school reopening plan. - TWITTER / @BECKILAOSHI
  • Twitter / @beckilaoshi
  • A Texas teacher and her husband attend a recent protest over the state's school reopening plan.
Texas educators have reported hundreds of violations of COVID-19 safety rules since schools began reopening this fall, one of the state's biggest teachers unions said Monday.

In an online survey conducted by the Texas State Teachers Association, 664 school employees from 135 Texas districts reported polices and practices that violated pandemic-related safety guidelines.

“The biggest issue our members are raising involves inadequate accommodations for high-risk employees or those with high-risk dependents at home," TSTA President Ovidia Molina said in a statement. "These teachers with underlying health conditions should be allowed to teach remotely from home, but in many cases they are being required to teach from their classrooms or risk losing their jobs."

Other teachers raised concerns about inadequate staffing to carry out new safety procedures and sick-leave policies that make it difficult for workers to take time off.

“Consider these problems together, and we can see that some districts are not committed to keeping potentially sick employees from coming to work, where they could infect other employees and students,” Molina added.

Teachers responding to the survey also cataloged physical conditions at schools that made it hard to follow safety recommendations. Those include poor air circulation and tight quarters that prevent social distancing. TSTA also received reports about on-campus violations of the state's mandatory mask order and inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies.

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