Texas educators have reported hundreds of violations of COVID-19 safety rules since schools began reopening this fall, one of the state’s largest teachers’ unions said Monday.
In an online survey conducted by the Texas State Teachers Association, 664 school employees from 135 districts in Texas reported policies and practices that violated pandemic-related safety guidelines.
“The biggest issue our members are raising relates to inadequate accommodations for high-risk employees or those with high-risk dependents at home,” TSTA Chairperson Ovidia Molina said in a statement. “Those teachers with underlying health conditions should be allowed to teach remotely from home, but in many cases they are forced to teach from their classroom or risk losing their jobs.”
Other teachers have expressed concern about the lack of staff to enforce new safety procedures and sick leave policies that make it difficult for workers to take time off.
“Look at these issues together, and we can see that some districts aren’t 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 listed physical conditions in schools that made it difficult to adhere to safety recommendations. These include poor air circulation and cramped quarters that prevent social distancing. TSTA has also received reports of on-campus violations of the state’s mandatory mask order and inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment and sanitary supplies.
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