Carter in the classroom

Teacher Group Leader Pledges Support of Dallas ISD's Mask Mandate

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One of the nation's top lobbyists for teachers was in Texas this week advocating to get kids back in the classroom, while supporting the Dallas ISD Mask mandate.

Randi Weingarten has been touring the nation advocating to get students back in the classroom and away from virtual learning.

But her visit to Dallas focused on something different since students in North Texas have been learning in the classroom since the school year started.

There is still a push to get students who stayed at home back in the building... and the National Teacher's Union has taken on that fight.

"Our members have been canvassing parents talking to them about being back in school, what the safety considerations and what the protocol should be," said Weingarten.

However, in Texas, she's more concerned with supporting Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.

He's not only pushing to have students back in class, but also with masks on. That goes against ordered dictated by Governor Greg Abbott.

"Vaccines, masking, ventilation... really can keep kids safe. We're seeing that from the schools in California which opened at the same time as the schools in Texas. The California governor took a different tact," she said.

Weingarten met with Hinojosa Thursday and pledged the group's support to get more students in the classroom with masks, vaccines, better ventilation and whatever it takes to move the community past the pandemic.

Thursday's announcement that the Justice Department would sue Texas over its controversial new abortion law brought up the question of whether something similar could happen with masks.

"Current (Education) Secretary (Miguel) Cardona is looking at whether actions from (Florida Governor Ron) Desantis and actions from (Texas Governor Greg) Abbott are disproportionately and negatively impacting vulnerable kids and kids of color and they are looking at that right now," she added.

While this meeting was more a show of solidarity than a real action plan, Weingarten said they want to make sure teachers and leaders here know Hinojosa isn't working alone to keep masks in place during the pandemic.

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