Teachers unions in DC, Fairfax Co. have safety concerns when it comes to reopening schools

A look down a dimly lit hallway of school lockers - 3D render(Getty Images/iStockphoto/allanswart)
As public schools in D.C. and Virginia move forward toward welcoming students back, local teachers unions are concerned about safety.

The Washington Teachers Union said it has concerns about the air in some D.C. schools.

“To date, DCPS has failed to release information on the finding of their analysis and no details on repairs to air systems,” said Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers Union.

She said that the union disagreed with the public schools on what was on the safety checklist for school walk-throughs before students return to their classrooms.

“For us, it is imperative. Parents need to know and so do teachers and other school workers,” Davis said.

She said that the union wants to see the schools that don’t have central air have a ventilation system installed in every room.

The union also demands more transparency on the repairs to air systems, a detailed list of personal protective equipment that will be provided and details on whether there will be a nurse in every school.

The union also says there isn’t a set protocol for how schools will handle a positive coronavirus case when they reopen.

“How will it be sanitized, will it shut down?”

She said she toured three schools two weeks ago, and, “We were asked to leave the school because it was not safe for us to be there.”

Tina Williams, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers president, said they also want to know what the policy is for noncompliance before Northern Virginia schools go back to the classroom.

“We don’t want to be going into a pandemic returning our students and our staff back into the schools, guessing what the process is. This is too dangerous,” Williams said.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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