Tennessee Education Association asks Gov. Lee to give more COVID-19 protections for educators, students

Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As the state continues to see increases in cases and deaths from COVID-19, Tennessee Education Association President Beth Brown is calling on Gov. Bill Lee to provide more protections for educators and students.

In a letter shared Tuesday, Brown states the teacher’s union, after conducting reviews of infection data among teachers and students, has seen active cases rates of COVID-19 among school staff are higher than the rates of the communities those schools serve.

“The data indicate in-person instruction increases infection risk and that Tennessee educators will become ill at a far higher rate than the state’s general population,” the letter states.

The TEA is asking the governor to:

  • Call for a mask mandate for all school staff and students;
  • Publish firm state guidance for infection thresholds for school closure;
  • Provide substantial emergency state school funding for high-quality PPEs, updated HVAC and air quality systems, and additional cleaning services;
  • Enforce all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for school operations;
  • Fund extended educator sick leave for active cases or quarantines;
  • Issue guidance to prioritize assigning educators with underlying conditions to remote instruction;
  • Provide additional health benefits and coverage for staff who have been infected; and
  • Provide hazardous duty pay for all staff directly involved with students.

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