McAllen teacher's union shares concerns on reopening schools

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A McAllen teacher’s union is reacting to comments made from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The head of the agency said it’s safe for teachers to head back to class—even if they haven’t been vaccinated.

"There's increase in our data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said  during a briefing Wednesday.

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McAllen American Federation of Teachers President Sylvia Tanguma thinks teachers could be left out of the picture.

"It was, in my opinion, a very careless statement for her to make,” Tanguma said.

Tanguma, an elementary school teacher at McAllen Independent School District, says the district is currently working from home. But the thought of eventually returning to in-person learning makes her uneasy, especially since the number of COVID-19 cases in Hidalgo County shows no signs of slowing.

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Walensky said there’s an increase in data that shows limited cases of COVID-19 in schools that took excessive steps in mitigation, but Tanguma says if that’s the way they ultimately choose to go, schools in Texas would have a big problem.

"That takes funding, and it's funding that the state of Texas is taking away and instead they're putting it towards the STAAR test,” Tanguma said. “We need that money in schools so that we can have the proper mitigation that the CDC is speaking of."

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Tanguma’s advice for the CDC is to make it mandatory for every state to implement strict COVID-19 mitigation regulations like mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.

Following Walensky’s comments, the White House stressed that is not official CDC policy, and that the agency’s positions on reopening schools will be detailed in upcoming guidance.


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