The Alliance/AFT union, which represents teachers within the Dallas ISD, is calling on the district to conduct online-only virtual learning until January 2021.
Their demand was punctuated Thursday morning with a car caravan of those who support a delay of in-person classes that goes further than the district's planned start date of Sept. 8 -- when both in-person and virtual classes will be offered.
The union goes on to add that at a minimum, the first eight weeks of school must be virtual. However, the union is calling on the district to extend the virtual-only environment an additional four weeks, as allowed by the Texas Education Agency.
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Alliance/AFT is also calling for a 14-day decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Dallas County before in-person classes are allowed to resume.
“All campus employees are the very people that are doing this work and are going to risk their lives,” President Honea said. “And unfortunately, they were never brought into the planning conversations. Therefore, the message is, “No face to face instruction until it’s safe.”
Union member Andrew Kirk teaches AP Human Geography at Sunset High School in Oak Cliff.
“I’m worried about my health, but I’m also worried about the health of the entire school community. A lot of the households that are in our feeder pattern are multi-generational, so grandparents are living with students, their parents and their siblings. So even if the students themselves don’t contract the virus, they could bring it home to older family members," said Kirk.
Though Kirk said virtual learning is more difficult to prepare for, the union's members would like to see the positivity rate drop below 5% before they return.
“None of us prefer remote instruction. We almost entirely prefer face to face. We love our students. We want to be there. That’s what we prefer when it’s safe," said Kirk.
The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees will meet Thursday night to further discuss the district's re-entry plans.