Twenty percent of public school teachers in San Francisco skipped school on Thursday to protest the reopening of schools in the district in the midst of the coronavirus wave, and to complain about what they say are inadequate safety measures.
As Breitbart News reported early Thursday morning, nearly 600 teachers had signed an online petition in advance, urging members of the of United Educators San Francisco (UESF) to send a message to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and to “shut the whole system down.”
The district received funding to deal with the coronavirus, but had spent it on other priorities — ironically, those favored by teachers unions, such as staff retention and hiring additional ancillary staff:
California received $15.3 billion from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act last year to spend on improving school safety, though the Democrat-run Congress gave school districts until Sep. 30, 2024 to spend the money.
California had already received $13 billion for school safety during the pandemic under relief signed by President Donald Trump.
The SFUSD itself received nearly $100 million, which was reportedly used “to maintain core district and school operations, to stabilize student services and resources, and to retain school site and district staff”; and for “strengthening structures for student and family supports; increased services for Special Education; targeted supports for focal student groups; increased and improved transportation services; maintaining low staff to student ratios of counselors, school psychologists, and school nurses; and ongoing professional development for educators.”
President Biden blamed states and school districts this week for not obtaining sufficient coronavirus tests ahead of the omicron wave, as he sought to duck blame after promising voters in the 2020 presidential campaign that he would stop the virus.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
The absences included 616 teachers, up from 414 Wednesday, with only enough substitutes to cover abut 180 of their classrooms. Central office staff with teaching credentials covered many of the remaining classrooms, with teachers also stepping in during their free periods to ensure a qualified adult was in each room.
Those supporting the walkout said they wanted to raise awareness of the health and safety demands of teachers and their union, including asking for N95 or KN95 masks, additional testing and an extension of a policy to provide additional paid sick days for those who contract the coronavirus.
In a similar action, teachers in Chicago have forced the closure of schools for three days after the teachers’ union voted to stay home.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.