Teachers union president: 'No perfect solution' to reopening schools


And joining me now is the president of the American Federation of Teachers. It's one of the nation's largest teachers unions. It's Randi Weingarten. Ms. Weingarten, Welcome back to meet the press. Randy Chuck. Okay, You got it Ready? I I want to start with where I think many. Many folks are framing this argument, and you may think it's It's unfair. But I want to put this up. This is from the nation. I'm the coronavirus will be with us in one form or another forever. Zero tolerance made sense in the first year the pandemic just as it made some sense in the early nineties to fight crime, But zero tolerance cannot be a viable long term strategy when it comes to reopening schools and other vital public institutions. And then also let me have let me let you listen to Governor Gavin Newsom, because they kind of is making the same point and I want to get you to respond. Here's what he said. You find whatever you look for. If we want to find reasons not open will find plenty of reasons. We want to start building on ways to strategize to find ways of getting to where we all want to go. We'll figure that out as well. I think in both instances, the question is this. Randy what is reasonable risk? How do you define it? Right. And so look And so I thank you for letting me be on today, Chuck, because I do actually wanted to bunk. This myth that teacher unions, at least our union. Um uh, doesn't want to reopen schools. We teachers know that in person. Education is really important and it's you know, we would have said that pre pandemic. We knew that remote education, you know, is not a good substitute. There's a road map now and so you actually can follow that road map in terms of defining those risks, and I think between the CDC guidance As well as the resource is that President Biden is trying to get in the $1.9 trillion package. We have the highway or the road map that allows us to do this, and it comes down to three things. The mitigation Layered mitigation strategies. The testing so that you can actually see a symptomatic spread and vaccine prioritization. Not that every single teacher has to be vaccinated. Before you open any schools, But you should align the vaccine prioritization with the reopening of schools. Is there a model school district right now that you feel as if Um You could say, Hey, See this. This is this is the way that this could be done and I'll keep everybody will be reasonably happy. Yes, there is. Ah, I mean, there's no perfect solution. But frankly, I think that New York City has done a pretty good job in terms of showing the way. Big school district lots of issues in terms of old buildings, and we learned a lot from what New York City did in September and October and in fact My members. I just did a survey of mine membership. And 85% have said that they would be comfortable being in school if they had the kind of testing layered mitigation like, you know, and vaccine prioritization, and that's what New York City is doing. So I want to actually lift up people like Washington, D. C. The mayor actually made sure that every teacher in school employees that one of the vaccine got vaccinated in the last few weeks, Same in terms of the Oregon governor save in terms of the West Virginia governor, same in terms of the Ohio governor, and so the when I hear, um politicians when I hear Governor Newsome saying You're always going to find a way out. Well, why is he not actually prioritizing the teachers in L A where they've been in Purple purple Zone, not in red zone. So So where I think the issue is if the NFL could figure out how to do this in terms of testing and Protocols. If schools air that important let's do it and my members want it. They

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