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US teacher’s union backs strikes to ensure schools reopen safely | News

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One of the largest United States teachers’ union is authorising its members to strike if their schools plan to reopen without proper safety measures in the middle of the global pandemic.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which represents 1.7 million school employees, issued a resolution on Tuesday saying it will support any local chapter that decides to strike over reopening plans. The group says school buildings should open only in areas where coronavirus infections are low enough and if schools enact certain safety measures.

In announcing the measure, the union’s president blasted President Donald Trump for ordering schools to reopen even as the virus continues to surge. Randi Weingarten called Trump’s response “chaotic and catastrophic”, saying it has left teachers angry and afraid.

“We will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators,” Weingarten said in prepared remarks to the group’s annual convention. “But if authorities don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, as our executive council voted last week, nothing is off the table.”

Union leaders approved the resolution Friday but announced it on Tuesday at the group’s convention, which is being held online amid the pandemic.

For weeks, Trump has pressed for a full reopening of the nation’s schools. Last week, he acknowledged that some schools may need to delay a return to in-person instruction, but he was still asking Congress to withhold future virus relief to schools that fail to reopen.

Some of the nation’s largest districts have opted to start the school year online, including in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston. Some are starting entirely online, while others are offering a mix of online and in-person instruction to reduce the number of students in school buildings.

The union’s resolution lays out conditions the group wants met for schools to reopen. It said schools must require masks, promote social distancing and update ventilation systems, among other measures.

It also said schools should reopen only in areas with infection rates below 5 percent and transmission rates below 1 percent, and only if local officials have taken steps to trace and isolate cases.

For many schools, more funding will be needed to reopen safely, the group said. It estimated the average school would need at least $1.2m, amounting to $116bn nationwide. The resolution said Trump and Senate Republicans have “have failed to negotiate and pass a new stimulus bill to address the resources vitally needed for reopening our schools”.

Schools have enacted their own policies to try to protect the health of students and teacher during the pandemic [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

The latest stimulus proposal from the White House and Senate Republicans includes $105bn for schools and colleges, though some of the money is only for schools that reopen for in-person classes. In May, the Democratic-led House included $100bn for schools – none of it limited to those holding on-site classes – but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said even more money is needed.

In her speech, Weingarten said teachers want schools to reopen. Children need in-person instruction, she said, adding that remote instruction is “no substitute for it”. But she said teachers needed to know they would be kept safe.

Before Trump began pressing schools to reopen, she said, a union poll found that its members were comfortable returning if proper safeguards were in place.

“Now, they’re afraid and angry,” she said. “Many are quitting, retiring or writing their wills.”

Along with strikes, the union said it would fight unsafe reopening plans through lawsuits and labour grievances. The union’s Florida chapter filed a lawsuit last week attempting to block the state’s plan to reopen schools, which the suit called “reckless and unsafe”.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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