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Dallas ISD teacher union calls for delay of in-person learning during board meeting

The Alliance/AFT leadership and members said in a statement that they “are extremely concerned regarding the re-entry plan being discussed at the meeting.

The Dallas Independent School District teachers union says it wants online-only lessons until January 2021 or at least during the first eight weeks of school. 

The union called for a safe school reopening at the district's board meeting Thursday.

The Alliance/AFT leadership and members said in a statement that they “are extremely concerned regarding the re-entry plan being discussed at the Dallas ISD Board Briefing on Thursday.”

The union, which has 5,000 members, also asked for online-only coursework until there is at least a 14-day decline in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

In the district's "Reopening Schools" board presentation, it noted that online-only learning for the whole district is not an option, unless for "safety reasons."

“All campus employees are the very people that are doing this work and are going to risk their lives," union President Rena Honea said in a statement. “And unfortunately, they were never brought into the planning conversations. Therefore, the message is, ‘No face to face instruction until it’s safe.”

During Thursday's meeting, teachers and community members addressed the board of trustees.

"Those lucky enough to survive COVID-19, some take months to recover. If a bus driver is out ill, are there enough drivers to cover our routes?" said pre-K teacher and AFT executive board member Maricela Zuniga.

Another Dallas ISD employee told board members that he requested an alternate assignment and was denied.

During the meeting, Honea told the board that in a member survey, over 90% said they feared for their health. 

"Many have respiratory illnesses, asthma, cancer or cancer related, diabetes and other underlying conditions," Honea said.

Many speakers noted Dallas County Health and Human Services "COVID-19 Risk Level" meter remains at "stay home, stay safe."