For Immediate Release
February 9, 2021
WTU Asks Mayor and Chancellor to Establish a ‘Situation Room’ to Handle School COVID-19 Emergencies and to Partner on Safety Metrics
Death of DCPS Teacher Heightens Concerns
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Frustration and deep concern over continuing school safety problems heightened today as the Washington Teachers’ Union and the American Federation of Teachers sent a letter to the mayor and schools chancellor asking to establish a “Situation Room” to deal quickly with COVID-19-related emergencies and to partner on school safety safeguards.
The letter came as WTU members voted against authorizing their union leaders to call a strike, demonstrating that they still want to work with city and district leaders on urgent action to safely reopen schools and want to exhaust all other remedies before authorizing a strike. At the same time, they were mourning the death of a Ballou STAY Opportunity Academy teacher, Helen Marie White, who died this past weekend after succumbing to the virus.
“We must make sure schools are safe. What keeps me up at night is that the District is putting the health of our city’s educators and students at risk with in-school learning because of continuing exposures in schools, numerous reports of violations of agreed-upon safety protocols and tragically, the death of a beloved teacher,” said WTU President Elizabeth Davis. “Our teachers are pleading with the mayor and chancellor to wake up to the reality that things are not right or safe in our schools.”