National Educators United (NEU), a grassroots union, is calling for a minimum “two-week pause” on classroom learning to “allow more youth and adults to get vaccinations and boosters” amid a spike in Omicron variant cases, according to a Dec. 31 letter from the union.
The NEU drafted a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among others, calling for a mandated two-week pause on in-person instruction and reduced class sizes.
“Record-breaking COVID transmission rates nationwide, coupled with a scarcity of covid tests and N-95 masks for all, forces students and educators to return from Winter Break to school buildings that are no longer safe,” the letter reads. “A national two-week pause of in-personal learning, at minimum, ensures the safety of students, public-education workers, and our communities.”
Union members and community leaders were asked to sign the letter. The NEU tweeted that the petition has more than 3,000 signatures as of Jan. 2.
We need to be able to get COVID testing in place, increase N95 mask supplies, & provide concerted efforts & opportunities to vaccinate our communities. National #2weeks pause NOW to #ProtectOurCommunity Let’s #Unite4SafeSchools
Anyone can sign: https://t.co/6lAYod2WEx pic.twitter.com/UcigKAhqZC
— National Educators United (@NEUsolidarity) January 1, 2022
The NEU alleged that a two-week pause on in-person learning would allow “time to obtain and distribute test supplies” and allow more students to get vaccines and boosters. The union also stated that schools should only return to in-person learning if districts implement demands for free face coverings, COVID testing, reduced class sizes, and more nurse and mental health professionals.
Calls for school closures are being fueled by public sector unions, most notably in Chicago where the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) scheduled a Jan. 4 vote to determine whether teachers will strike or return to in-person learning on Jan. 5. Eighty percent of CTU members reportedly said they do not wish to return to in-person learning given the Omicron variant. (RELATED: More Than 2,100 Public Schools Closed For Beginning Of Spring Semester)
The NEU claims to be a more left-wing version of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers unions. The NEU boasts no corporate or political partnerships.
“AFT and NEA are top-down, ‘business unions,’ historically in partnership with corporate political parties, while NEU envision reforming our unions to be bottom-up ‘class struggle’ organizations,” the NEU’s website reads. “More than just having high membership numbers, we need democratic, fighting unions to win our vision of public schools.”
The union calls on districts to “replace charter schools, education reform, standardized testing, scripted curriculum, and the corporatization of education with fully-funded, democratically operated neighborhood community schools with that center racial equity and social justice.”
The NEU did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.