Indiana for the Safe Return to Schools
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We are Hoosier educators, school staff, parents, students, and concerned individuals who demand a safe return to campuses.
- We refuse to return to campus until our counties report no new cases of COVID-19 for at least 14 days.
- Until then, we demand that our students and school staff have adequate access to all necessary technology to resume distance learning.
- Upon return, we demand adequate supplies, personnel, and facilities to safely share space on campus and react aggressively to any resurgence of COVID-19.
To do this, we are calling upon school districts and legislators to do the following:
- Provide publicized and specific guidelines for reopening are based on how many cases there are locally in the district, including clear plans around when schools should close and reopen due to COVID-19 spikes.
- Screen staff and students upon arrival for a history of exposure and symptoms. This screening could include but is not limited to temperature screenings, contact tracing, and other means of tracking the disease.
- Consistently provide adequate amounts of sanitizing equipment and PPE for all staff members and students.
- Mandate that mask or facial shield use will be mandatory for both staff members and students at all times in the classrooms, buses, and hallways.
- Mandate that teachers will not be required to teach in-person and online simultaneously. This includes live-streaming classroom teaching. No teacher shall be required to maintain a combined online and in-person workload that exceeds a full load of classes.
- Maintain student privacy under FERPA during online learning and provide equity in internet access, funded by the state. This includes, but is not limited to, providing equipment and internet access for students who need it.
- Do not take COVID-related sick days from staff members' saved sick days, regardless of whether the teacher has tested positive, someone in their care has tested positive, or they have been told to quarantine/ self-isolate.
- Do not require staff to fill out return to work forms.
- Provide staff members with hazard pay.
- Restore bargaining rights for working conditions in addition to promoting local discussion and bargaining.
- Create caps on in-person class sizes to allow adequate social distancing (6 feet) in every classroom.
- Provide accommodations for students and staff who have health conditions that put them at high risk, are in at-risk categories, or live with people who have conditions that put them at increased risk to the COVID-19 virus.
- Provide increased cleanings, sanitization, and ventilation to make staff and student areas as safe as possible.
- Have flexible attendance procedures for both staff and students to encourage people to stay home if medically necessary.
- Mandate that staff absences or staff implementing social distancing and safety measures will not negatively impact their evaluations.
- Issue waiver days for when schools need to close due to a new case.
- Follow employee contracts, which include working hours and duty-free lunches.
As the members of the Indiana for a Safe Return to Schools,
- We demand that our states, counties, cities, and school districts be prepared to resume distance learning in case COVID-19 resurges in our counties.
- We demand that federal, state, and local governments quickly implement all necessary public health measures to respond to a resurgence in our counties.
- Our demands for a return to lockdown should not be construed as a demand to police or imprison people leading the struggle against police brutality and systemic racism, an essential activity that studies have shown not to increase the spread of COVID-19 substantially. Our demands are intrinsically tied to racial justice movements, as Black and Brown communities have disproportionately borne the brunt of this pandemic and will continue to do so if elected officials force students and staff to return to campus before it is safe.
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