Refuse to Return to Campus until Counties Report No New Cases for 14 Days
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We are educators, administrators, school support staff, students, parents, guardians, and concerned individuals. We refuse to return to campus this fall until our counties report no new cases of COVID-19 for at least 14 consecutive days. Let it be known that this is not simply a petition, but a statement of intent, a pledge not to return until it is safe.
We demand that our cities, counties, states, and federal government implement the public health measures that should have been widely implemented months ago to stop the growth of this pandemic, including but not limited to:
- Mass testing of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people,
- Nationwide contact tracing,
- Mandatory mask requirements,
- Suspension of all non-essential travel, and
- Suspension of all non-essential business activity.
We demand the economic relief necessary to implement the aforementioned public health measures, including but not limited to:
- At least $2,000 per month per person and an additional $1,000 per month per child, as Congresswoman Maxine Waters proposed in March;
- Universal single-payer healthcare throughout the pandemic, as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Pramila Jayapal proposed in April;
- Cancellation of all rent and mortgage payments throughout the pandemic, as Representative Ilhan Omar proposed in April; and
- Quality, emergency shelter for all homeless individuals, and also for essential workers and COVID-19 patients who require quarantine from their families.
This demand does not call for the revocation of these services upon ending the pandemic.
We demand that all education stakeholders collectively negotiate the terms of campus reopening upon completion of these 14 or more days.
We demand increases in school funding needed to afford the following:
- Additional technology for students to equitably access their teachers’ digital curricula,
- Licenses for a broad portfolio of state-of-the-art educational applications and subscriptions,
- Supplemental professional development needed for teachers to become more proficient with these applications,
- Sufficient, disposable personal protective equipment for all school staff and students upon return to campus,
- Additional mental health professionals needed to help students heal from the traumas of this pandemic and to readjust to campus life socially and emotionally, and
- Anything else school staff decide they need to resume effective distance learning in fall and eventually a safe return to campus after at least 14 consecutive days of no new cases of COVID-19 in our counties.
We demand that our states, counties, cities, and school districts are prepared to resume distance learning in case COVID-19 resurges in our counties. We also demand that federal, state, and local governments are prepared to quickly implement all necessary public health measures in response 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 substantially increase the spread of COVID-19. Our demands are intrinsically tied to the movements for racial justice, 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.
Our elected officials have proven incapable of ending this pandemic by their own volition. They have chosen instead to acclimate Americans to the daily death of our neighbors so they can resume their fairy tales of economic growth. Therefore, it is our responsibility to exercise our power as workers to force our leaders to do what they have refused: end this pandemic.
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