Leaders from AFT-Maryland's Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) Local 340 and City Union of Baltimore (CUB) Local 800 joined with leadership from AFSCME Local 558 in protesting the planned reopening of Baltimore City Public Schools. The leaders each expressed their concern for the safety and welfare of students, staff, and families should any city schools reopen on Monday as proposed.
BTU President Diamonté Brown Stressed that this is not the moment to re-open schools, particularly with the surge in positive cases hammering Baltimore just as they are the entire nation. "According to the CDC's core indicator, Baltimore city is back in the highest risk of transimission in schools and despite district efforts to address some concerns our schools have become less safe not more over the last several weeks." She went on to say, "Safety has to be the priority in the middle of a deadly global pandemic."
CUB President Antoinette Ryan-Johnson stressed the lack of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for a host of workers across Baltimore and shared her concerns about ensuring staff would have the necessary PPE to be safe. She also urged caution in light of Gov. Hogan's recent announcement of scaling back indoor dining and urging telework. "With positive cases surging across the nation and our own Governor calling for many state workers to telework, the idea that our children and our members will be placed into school settings seems premature and unsafe."
AFSCME Local 558 President Wendy Smith shared heartbreaking details of healthcare professionals who are members of her local who have lost their lives battling the coronavirus. She urged a delay in the reopening to avoid further illness or worse.