Grassroots groups of teachers, parents list 10 demands for reopening of schools

Empty classroom covid-19
Posted at 7:46 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 19:46:41-04

DETROIT (WXYZ)  — Some teachers and parents who are part of a grassroots movement in education have released a list of ten demands they said must be met if face-to-face instruction is to take place when Michigan schools reopen.

"I'm not going to allow my children to step foot inside any school and be anyone's guinea pig or anyone's casualty of war," said Marietta Elliott who is a teacher with the Detroit Public Schools Community District where he children also attend. "I'm not going to send my children back if the stated demands are not met."

During a press conference Wednesday, members of Michigan United Stakeholders & Champions of Learning and Equity (M.U.S.C.L.E) and Michigan Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators (MI-CORE) announced the list of the demands that has been sent to the Governor's office, the Michigan Department of Education, and the American Federation of Teachers.

The letter is also directed to the Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Detroit Federation of Teachers though they said the demands are regarding the reopening of schools throughout Michigan.

The list of demands is as follows:

1. Fourteen consecutive days of decreased Covid-19 cases before a return to “face to face” instruction.

2. Regular Ongoing Mandated Covid-19 testing and contact tracing for K-12 students.

3. Daily temperature checks for K-12 students and no exception quarantine, when necessary

4. Masks must be worn for K-12 students.

5. Required small class size and 6 feet social distancing protocols followed.

6. Must have Personal Protection Equipment throughout the school year.

7. Independent agency for school building inspections to determine readiness (ventilation concerns).

8. Plastic separators for teacher desk area and if possible, for all students.

9. Sick banks should not be penalized for confirmed Covid-19 or school-related quarantine and be expanded to ensure people stay home when sick.

10. Mandate a State-wide Michigan Department of Education Hotline to report noncompliance complaints.

"We're not planning to go back to school if these conditions aren't met. It's not safe," said Lacetia Walker, a teacher with Detroit Public Schools Community District. "I value my life. I value the lives of my students, my community, and my family. It's not going to happen."

On Monday, July 20, the groups are planning to hold a "car caravan" that will begin in Dearborn and go to Taylor and then Detroit.

The organizers said they have actions planned along the way to make sure their voices are heard.