Bay Area teachers hold sickout to push for a return to distance learning

You’ve heard by now that the Chicago Teacher’s Union has voted to stop showing up at work while it negotiations with the city for potentially more days away from classrooms if COVID case numbers rise. But Chicago isn’t the only city where teachers are refusing to show up for work. Last week, teachers in the Bay Area held a sickout.

A group of San Francisco teachers has organized a “sickout” Thursday, saying they will skip school because they feel the district failed to adequately protect them during the pandemic.

It’s unclear how many educators plan to participate in the labor action, although nearly 500 people have signed an online petition supporting it…

“By withholding our labor, by reclaiming our time and our health, we send the message that if SFUSD, the City, State, and Federal Government do not invest in seriously addressing this pandemic (and the ongoing issues which make dealing with the pandemic so challenging for public schools), we can shut the whole system down,” according to organizers of the petition. “And we will!”…

Some Oakland teachers are also planning a sickout this week, with Garfield Elementary and at least a couple other schools participating, said Tamara Henry, an organizer and math coach at Garfield as well as a district parent. They are asking for N95 masks for all students as well as more frequent and accurate testing programs.

Officially, the sickout wasn’t organized by the union but it just so happened to take place at the same time as a bargaining session between the union and the school district. This is another illegal strike which makes no sense at all given that all of these teachers are vaccinated now. SF Gate reported on the results of the sickout last Thursday:

A sickout was staged Thursday, unaffiliated with the teachers union, which resulted in 616 teachers being out of classes for the day. A district spokesperson told SFGATE that the district had “29% coverage by substitutes.”

On Friday, 500+ teachers in Oakland called in sick, forcing a dozen schools to close:

Twelve schools in Oakland were forced to close because of Friday’s teacher’s “sickout.”…

A caravan of cars with teachers who called out sick today traveled from Merritt Community College down to school district headquarters.

The district says 503 teachers called out sick Friday, that’s twice what they’ve seen every day this week. Instruction for more than 5,000 students was interrupted.

Dr. Jeanne Noble, an associate professor of emergency medicine at UCSF said closing schools now was “beyond the pale.”

The Omicron variant or some similar variant is going to become an endemic virus which everyone has to deal with. But it seems teacher’s unions aren’t willing to try, even though their members and most of the kids are vaccinated. Fortunately for them, the Democrats who run these cities aren’t willing to do anything about these illegal strikes so it seems kids and their parents are just at the mercy of the unions.

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