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Schools out! Teachers across the nation protest school reopenings with coffins and guillotines as Trump demands kids get back to class amid decline in virus cases across the Sun Belt (42 Pics)

New York City teachers took to the streets of Lower Manhattan on Monday afternoon to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposed plan to reopen schools in just over a month's time.
Around 200 educators got creative and brought along a host of visual aids including homemade coffins, skeletons and guillotines to make their point - that they don't feel schools are safe to go back to, yet.
The protesters consisted of a mix of educators, parents and students who marched from the United Federation of Teachers Headquarters to the NYC Department of Education offices, chanting 'We demand safe schools!' and 'Hey-hey, ho-ho, Bill de Blasio has got to go!' 
SIPA USA via PA Images  A coalition of activists, educators, parents, and students protest to stop the in-person reopening of New York City public schools amidst the COOVID-19 pandemic in New York City on August 3, 2020. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann/Sipa USA)
Teachers, staff and students protested against the reopening of schools in New York and cities across the country. One man is pictured having found a use for a halloween prop in August
People gather for a protest and march, part of a nationwide movement organized by teachers, students, and parents, against plans to reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus
People gather for a protest and march, part of a nationwide movement organized by teachers, students, and parents, against plans to reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus
Schools around the country are struggling to establish safe protocols to bring students back into classrooms in the fall despite the ongoing risk of exposure to the coronavirus
Schools around the country are struggling to establish safe protocols to bring students back into classrooms in the fall despite the ongoing risk of exposure to the coronavirus
The president began and ended his tweeting for the day with messages about opening schools
The president began and ended his tweeting for the day with messages about opening schools
One group carried a guillotine with the initials 'DOE' on the blade along with 'US' where a head would normally be while others carried coffin-like boxes and body bags. 
'Children cannot focus on schoolwork if their family members or teachers are in the hospital or dying,' said Frankie Cook,  a kindergarten teacher to the New York Post. 'Children cannot learn if they're dead.
'Schools will be like prisons. Teachers' main focus will be on enforcing health and safety because one slip could cause someone their lives,' Cook said. 
A man wears a death mask while a coalition of activists, educators, parents, and students protest to stop the in-person reopening of New York City public schools
A man wears a death mask while a coalition of activists, educators, parents, and students protest to stop the in-person reopening of New York City public schools
The protesters consisted of a mix of educators, parents and students who marched from the United Federation of Teachers Headquarters to the NYC Department of Education offices
The protesters consisted of a mix of educators, parents and students who marched from the United Federation of Teachers Headquarters to the NYC Department of Education offices
A coalition of teachers, students, and families protest during a rally called National Day of Resistance Against Unsafe School Reopening Opening
A coalition of teachers, students, and families protest during a rally called National Day of Resistance Against Unsafe School Reopening Opening
Creative teachers and students brought instruments and one person created a Dept. of Education guillotine to demonstrate the life and death situation they believe it to be
Creative teachers and students brought instruments and one person created a Dept. of Education guillotine to demonstrate the life and death situation they believe it to be
In New York, the protesters are unhappy with the mayor's plans for a partial reopening of the biggest school system in the country so long as coronavirus infection rates in the city are below three per cent.
De Blasio's plan would see hybrid schedule introduced, where some days students are in class while other days they are online. 
As part of the reopening, teachers will also be expected to be tested for the virus although it will not be mandatory. 
'It's all about health and safety first,' de Blasio insisted.  
The president tweeted several times on Monday urging schools to reopen.
'Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well. Open the Schools!' he wrote early on.
The day ended with another demand from the president in a tweet that came well after 11pm. It read simply: 'OPEN THE SCHOOLS!!!'
People gather for a protest and march, part of a nationwide movement organized by teachers, students, and parents, against plans to reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus
People gather for a protest and march, part of a nationwide movement organized by teachers, students, and parents, against plans to reopen schools in the midst of the coronavirus
The protesters pushed back against de Blasio's plan for a hybrid schedule, where some days students are in class while other days they are online.
The protesters pushed back against de Blasio's plan for a hybrid schedule, where some days students are in class while other days they are online.
One of the big issues among the protesters was the lack of ventilation in schools, they say many classrooms don't have air conditioning and windows often don't open
One of the big issues among the protesters was the lack of ventilation in schools, they say many classrooms don't have air conditioning and windows often don't open
Elsewhere around the country, teachers at dozens of school districts protested from their cars on Monday over plans by some U.S. governors to resume in-class instruction during the coronavirus pandemic, while Arizona, Florida, California and Texas saw declines in new cases.
The teachers, who painted messages on their cars and formed caravans with other school employees, want classes conducted online until testing shows that classrooms are safe and districts hire more nurses and counselors.
The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, the union representing public school teachers statewide, posted pictures on Twitter of protesters making cardboard gravestones with messages such as 'Here lies a third grade student from Green Bay who caught COVID at school' and 'RIP Grandma caught COVID helping grand kids with homework.'
Teachers complain the COVID testing included in the plan is too long of a delay to learn results
Teachers complain the COVID testing included in the plan is too long of a delay to learn results
New York has contained the virus recently even as it surges in other parts of the country
New York has contained the virus recently even as it surges in other parts of the country
Parents and their children were among those protesting the plan to reopen schools
Parents and their children were among those protesting the plan to reopen schools
Teachers in Chicago, Milwaukee and Philadelphia honked their horns in car protests. Demonstrators rallied outside the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce building, and in Connecticut about 400 formed a car march that passed Governor Ned Lamont's home.
'I do not want to put my students or myself in harm's way. I do not want to be an experiment,' Chicago elementary school teacher Andrea Parker told reporters.
More than 155,000 people have died nationwide from COVID-19 since the virus was first identified in the United States in January. Cases nationally fell for a second week in a row but rose week-over-week in 20 states, including Missouri, Montana and Oklahoma.
In Philadelphia, Devren Washington, the organizer of Monday's protest speaks to a crowd at Comcast's national headquarters calling for equitable access to internet for all students
In Philadelphia, Devren Washington, the organizer of Monday's protest speaks to a crowd at Comcast's national headquarters calling for equitable access to internet for all students
About one hundred people gathered at Comcast's national headquarters as part of a day of action across the country calling for access to internet for all students in Philadelphia
About one hundred people gathered at Comcast's national headquarters as part of a day of action across the country calling for access to internet for all students in Philadelphia 
In Chicago, Illinois, demonstrators participated in a protest outside of City Hall calling for public school classes to be held remotely when school begins in the fall
In Chicago, Illinois, demonstrators participated in a protest outside of City Hall calling for public school classes to be held remotely when school begins in the fall 
Chicago's protest was hosted by the Chicago Teachers Union, community groups, and parent organizations
Chicago's protest was hosted by the Chicago Teachers Union, community groups, and parent organizations 
Deaths in the United States rose for a fourth week in a row to more than 8,500 people in the seven days to the week ending August 2nd.
The states of Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, home to some of the largest populations, saw fewer cases and hospitalizations.
Californian Governor Gavin Newsom said intensive care unit admissions were also down in his state but it was too early to celebrate.
'This virus is not going away,' Newsom said at a briefing. 'It's not going to take Labor Day weekend off or Halloween off or the holidays off. Until we have a vaccine, we are going to be living with this virus.'
The governor said the decline was not enough to merit a change in his order that Californian schools begin the August term with online learning.
The Los Angeles teachers union and education officials on Monday agreed to a plan for resuming online-only classes later this month in the nation's second-largest school district.
Teachers and activists across the country protested on Monday to demand adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening. A protester in Chicago is pictured
Teachers and activists across the country protested on Monday to demand adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening. A protester in Chicago is pictured
Lisa Powley joined about one hundred people gathered at Comcast's national headquarters as part of a day of action across the country calling for equitable access to internet for students
Lisa Powley joined about one hundred people gathered at Comcast's national headquarters as part of a day of action across the country calling for equitable access to internet for students
In Philadelphia, teachers were demanding better internet access for their students to teach
In Philadelphia, teachers were demanding better internet access for their students to teach
A woman puts a sign on her car prior to the Occupy City Hall Protest and Car Caravan hosted by Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois
A woman puts a sign on her car prior to the Occupy City Hall Protest and Car Caravan hosted by Chicago Teachers Union in Chicago, Illinois
Schools are at the center of negotiations between Democrats in Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump over a coronavirus economic relief bill. 
Democratic leaders and White House negotiators both said on Monday they had made progress in those talks, though the administration said Trump could act alone if no deal is reached.
With Democrat Joe Biden leading in polls ahead of the November presidential election, Trump, a Republican, has made school reopenings part of his re-election campaign.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert, said in an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday that states with spiraling case numbers should consider re-imposing lockdown restrictions on residents and businesses.
The topic in Philadelphia had a focus on better internet access for students to learn remotely
The topic in Philadelphia had a focus on better internet access for students to learn remotely
Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey demands adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening
Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey demands adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening
About 100 people gathered in Philadelphia to demand free internet in the city for students
About 100 people gathered in Philadelphia to demand free internet in the city for students
Teachers Elie Gotlieb, Lewis Elkins, Bridget Mason, Palambo High School and Rachel Boschen from McClure Elementary, hold signs at Comcast's national headquarters in Philadelphia
Teachers Elie Gotlieb, Lewis Elkins, Bridget Mason, Palambo High School and Rachel Boschen from McClure Elementary, hold signs at Comcast's national headquarters in Philadelphia
But Fauci told a news conference with Connecticut's Lamont that he favored getting students back in class, citing negative psychological impacts of keeping them home as well as the role schools play in feeding children.
'The default position should be to try as best as you possibly can to open up the schools for in-person learning,' Fauci said.
Previously hard-hit parts of New York and New Jersey with dense populations have seen an increase in new cases in recent days, prompting New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to reduce indoor limits to 25 people per room from 100.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would announce later this week whether to reopen schools in his state, which has recorded by far the greatest number of COVID-19 deaths, more than 32,000.  
Rachel Adamus holds her son Paul, 7, on their porch before the bus arrives for the first day of school on Monda. Adamus is among tens of thousands of students in Georgia and across the nation who were set to resume in-person school Monday for the first time since March
Rachel Adamus holds her son Paul, 7, on their porch before the bus arrives for the first day of school on Monda. Adamus is among tens of thousands of students in Georgia and across the nation who were set to resume in-person school Monday for the first time since March
Rachel Adamus, right, helps her daughter Neva, 5, put on her mask before her first day of kindergarten. Neighboring states arrived at differing conclusions on who's in charge of the reopening of schools. The differences in philosophy underscore some of the difficulties facing states as they grapple with how to proceed amid growing coronavirus infections in numerous states
Rachel Adamus, right, helps her daughter Neva, 5, put on her mask before her first day of kindergarten. Neighboring states arrived at differing conclusions on who's in charge of the reopening of schools. The differences in philosophy underscore some of the difficulties facing states as they grapple with how to proceed amid growing coronavirus infections in numerous states
Meanwhile, for parents putting their child on the bus for the first day of school is always a leap of faith, but now, on top of the usual worries about youngsters adjusting to new teachers and classmates, there's the worry about the virus. 
Rachel Adamus was feeling those emotions Monday morning as she got 7-year-old Paul ready for his first day of second grade and prepared 5-year-old Neva for the start of kindergarten.
With a new school year beginning this week in some states, Adamus struggled to balance her fears with her belief that her children need the socialization and instruction that school provides, even as the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has hit about 155,000 and cases are rising in numerous places.
As the bus pulled away from the curb in Adamus' Dallas, Georgia, neighborhood, the tears finally began to fall.
Siblings Paul Adamus, 7, left, and Neva Adamus, 5, put on their backpacks to get ready for their first day of school on Monday
Siblings Paul Adamus, 7, left, and Neva Adamus, 5, put on their backpacks to get ready for their first day of school on Monday
Paul Adamus, 7, waits at the bus stop for the first day of school on Monday
Paul Adamus, 7, waits at the bus stop for the first day of school on Monday
'We have kept them protected for so long,' said Adamus, who said her aunt died from COVID-19 in Alabama and her husband´s great-uncle succumbed to the virus in a New Jersey nursing home. 
'They haven´t been to restaurants. We only go to parks if no one else is there. We don´t take them to the grocery store. And now they´re going to be in the classroom with however many kids for an entire day with a teacher.'
The Adamus children are among tens of thousands of students across the nation who resumed in-person school Monday for the first time since March. Parents in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee are also among those navigating the new academic year this week.
Many schools that are recommencing in-person instruction are also giving parents a stay-at-home virtual option; Adamus, like many other parents, decided against that. Other schools are planning a hybrid approach, with youngsters alternating between in-person classes and online learning.
But an uptick in COVID-19 cases in many states has prompted districts to scrap in-person classes at least for the start of the school year, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington.
Rachel Adamus, right, shows her children, Paul, left, and Neva, 5, center, an app on her phone showing when the school bus will arrive near their home, on Monday. The Adamus children are among tens of thousands of students in Georgia and across the nation who were set to resume in-person school Monday for the first time since March
Rachel Adamus, right, shows her children, Paul, left, and Neva, 5, center, an app on her phone showing when the school bus will arrive near their home, on Monday. The Adamus children are among tens of thousands of students in Georgia and across the nation who were set to resume in-person school Monday for the first time since March
Teaching assistant Crystal May talks to kindergarten student Lewis Henry Thompson, 5, as she takes his temperature at Newton County Elementary School in Decatur, Mississippi
Teaching assistant Crystal May talks to kindergarten student Lewis Henry Thompson, 5, as she takes his temperature at Newton County Elementary School in Decatur, Mississippi
Keeping a seat between them, sophomores' Natalie Brantley, 15, left and Yareny Aguilar-Perez, 15, are introduced to the principles of Early Childhood I at Newton County Career and Technical Center in Decatur, Mississippi
Keeping a seat between them, sophomores' Natalie Brantley, 15, left and Yareny Aguilar-Perez, 15, are introduced to the principles of Early Childhood I at Newton County Career and Technical Center in Decatur, Mississippi
President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have urged schools to reopen. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation´s top infectious-disease expert, warned Monday: 'There may be some areas where the level of virus is so high that it would not be prudent to bring the children back to school.'
'So you can´t make one statement about bringing children back to school in this country. It depends on where you are,' he said.
In Indiana, where schools reopened last week, a student at Greenfield-Central Junior High tested positive on the first day back to class and was isolated in the school clinic.
'This really does not change our plans,' School Superintendent Harold Olin said. 'We knew that we would have a positive case at some point in the fall. We simply did not think it would happen on Day One.'
Elsewhere in Indiana, Elwood Junior Senior High suspended in-person classes two days into the school year after at least one staffer tested positive.
Following direction, McCartney Moulds, 6, a second-grader, distances herself from a fellow student as she walks to class with full mask following her bus commute
Following direction, McCartney Moulds, 6, a second-grader, distances herself from a fellow student as she walks to class with full mask following her bus commute
Paul Adamus, 7, climbs the stairs of a bus before the fist day of school. Thousands of students across the nation resumed in-person school Monday for the first time since March
Paul Adamus, 7, climbs the stairs of a bus before the fist day of school. Thousands of students across the nation resumed in-person school Monday for the first time since March
In Newton County, Mississippi, fourth grader Avery Mangum returned to school for the first time in months to find many things changed: She had to wear a mask, sit in an assigned seat and eat in her classroom instead of in the cafeteria. When kids in her class moved around the school, they followed their teacher in a straight line with one arm sticking out in front of them to make sure they stayed at least an arm´s length away from other kids.
The playground at Avery's school was split in two: Some kids could play on half of the equipment, and others on the other half, with only a certain number allowed in total.
'It was really hard to socially distance while we were at recess,' she said. 'Everyone wants to play with their friends and do all these things but we can´t.'
Emily Thompson´s son started the sixth grade at Newton County Middle/High School in Decatur. Thompson, a pharmacist, said she felt relief watching him get in line to have his temperature taken before entering the building.
She and her husband, who also works in health care, found it was a 'nightmare' trying to keep the boy and their two other elementary school-age children on track with their studies. She said she is not overly worried about her children getting sick at school.
Face coverings hang on hooks along with keys by the front door of the Adamus family
Face coverings hang on hooks along with keys by the front door of the Adamus family
Students arrive to Dallas Elementary School for the first day of school amid the coronavirus outbreak
Students arrive to Dallas Elementary School for the first day of school amid the coronavirus outbreak
'It would be more detrimental not to send them, in my opinion, than for them to hang out and do the virtual learning,' she said. 'I think they´re going to get more interaction at school. They are going to learn more at school. They just need to be in that setting.'
In Georgia´s Paulding County, both of Adamus´ children wore masks, though that is not mandatory for the 30,000 students in the county, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta.
Adamus lives near North Paulding High School, where the principal sent a letter over the weekend announcing a football player tested positive for the virus after attending practice. The Georgia High School Association, in a memo last week, said it has received reports of 655 positive tests since workouts for football and other sports started on June 8.
One student who wasn't starting at North Paulding on Monday was Aliyah Williams. Her mother, Erica Williams, said she is keeping the 14-year-old freshman home because two of her younger sons have cystic fibrosis and she can´t risk their being exposed. Williams said she thinks her daughter will be OK academically with online classes, which up to 30% of the district's students have enrolled in. But she is worried about Aliyah´s inability to see her friends.
Parents are having to balance the children's need for socialization and instruction that school provides, with the reality that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has hit about 155,000 and cases are rising in numerous places
Parents are having to balance the children's need for socialization and instruction that school provides, with the reality that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has hit about 155,000 and cases are rising in numerous places
'She´s a social butterfly. That´s a big part of her personality,' Williams said.
Aliyah has been participating in color guard with the school band, but Williams said she is now 'conflicted' about that too, considering the football player´s positive test.
Other Paulding County parents were eager for in-person classes. Jenna Thames drove 8-year-old Brantley to his first day of third grade and 6-year-old Rhett to his first day of first grade.
Thames said that no one at her house is high-risk and that as a former teacher, she thinks her children will learn more from teachers than they did from her in the spring.
'They´re going to actually listen to their teacher, as opposed to me. When it´s time to do sight words, it was a fight every day,' Thames said. 'I absolutely trust our administration and our teachers to do what it takes to keep them safe and keep themselves safe.'
Many teachers are uneasy, dismayed that the Paulding district refused to mandate masks or push back the start date for in-person classes, as other Atlanta-area districts have done. But with Georgia´s weak unions, there has been little organized opposition.
Rachel Adamus' eyes fill with a tear as she watches her children Paul and Neva head to the first day of school during the coronavirus outbreak on Monda, in Dallas, Georgia. With a new school year beginning this week in some states, Adamus is struggling to balance her fears with her belief that her children need to go to school for the sake of their education
Rachel Adamus' eyes fill with a tear as she watches her children Paul and Neva head to the first day of school during the coronavirus outbreak on Monda, in Dallas, Georgia. With a new school year beginning this week in some states, Adamus is struggling to balance her fears with her belief that her children need to go to school for the sake of their education
Rachel Adamus waves goodbye to her two children, Paul and Neva, as they ride the bus for the first day of school on Monday
Rachel Adamus waves goodbye to her two children, Paul and Neva, as they ride the bus for the first day of school on Monday
'I desperately want to return to face-to-face teaching, but not until it is safe,' Steven Hanft, a North Paulding High teacher, told the county school board last month.
Other parents have to balance their job with schooling decisions. Shannon Dunn has to report to her job this week as a cafeteria manager at an elementary school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but she has no idea what she will do when her daughter starts kindergarten with online-only instruction.
'My family works. I have no one I can take her to and say, `OK, at 12 o´clock you are going to have to start working online with her for school,´' Dunn said.
School officials have said they hope to begin in-person classes after Labor Day. But Dunn said that will not ease her mind completely.
'If I hear of the spread of COVID at the school, then I'd have to rethink it all over again,' she said.

3 comments:

  1. Stop paying teachers who won't work?

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  2. Since kids don't get it, and they don't give it to teachers and there are 4 proven cures for the virus anyway, why are they calling these people teachers? They are brain dead ignorant. Who would want to be taught by these crazed zombies?

    ReplyDelete
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