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 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.