Teachers protest across US over reopening schools in pandemic

Teachers and support staff at more than 35 school districts across the United States on Monday are protesting against the reopening of schools while COVID-19 is surging in many parts of the country.

They are demanding in-person classes not be held until scientific data supports it, safety protocols such as lower class sizes and virus testing are established, and schools are staffed with adequate numbers of counsellors and nurses, according to a website set up for the demonstrations.

On Twitter, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association showed protesters making fake gravestones that said “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 are also demanding financial help for parents in need, including rent and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and cash assistance.

Many of these issues are at the centre of a political tussle in Washington, where Congressional Democrats and Trump administration officials will resume talks on Monday aimed at hammering out a coronavirus economic relief bill after missing a deadline to extend benefits to tens of millions of jobless Americans.

The coronavirus, first recorded in China in December, has infected 4.6 million people in the US and killed more than 155,000 Americans since February. Deaths rose by over 25,000 in July and cases doubled in 19 states during the month.

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