Missouri NEA Pres. Phil Murray's statement regarding dangerous changes to K-12 COVID-19 guidance


From the Missouri National Education Association
1810 E. Elm St., Jefferson City, MO 65101

For further information: 
Mark Jones, MNEA Communications Director
Phone: (573) 644-9609
Mobile: (573) 508-8528


(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, Governor Mike Parson, in conjunction with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, issued modifications to Missouri’s K-12 school reopening and operating guidance Missouri NEA President Phil Murray issued the following statement:

“As educators, student safety is our top priority. It should also be the top priority of our state’s leaders. The dangerous choice to allow people exposed to COVID-19 to remain in a school building jeopardizes children, educators, and families. The likely irreparable harm to the health of students, our colleagues, and families compels us to speak out.

"Educators are frustrated that as health experts across the state sound the alarm of runaway COVID-19 cases filling hospitals, Governor Parson and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) would choose now to adopt this dangerous guidance.

"Permitting persons exposed to COVID-19 to remain in contact with students and educators is indefensible. It will put more strain on the nurses and doctors in our local hospitals working to save lives. Now is the time to focus on implementing more aggressive mitigation strategies such as increased ventilation, reduced class size to enable social distancing, virtual education, higher quality PPE, and hiring additional staff to aid in sanitization. We call on local school boards and superintendents to stand with our students and educators and reject this guidance.”


The 32,000-member Missouri NEA represents teachers, education support professionals, college faculty, retired teachers, and students studying to be teachers in school districts and on college campuses throughout the state. It is the Missouri affiliate of the 3 million-member National Education Association.  


New Guidelines issued by DESE

Missouri NEA believes the guidance outlined in this flyer puts students and school employees at greater risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection. To ensure the health and safety of the children, teachers and other school staff, and their families, MNEA strongly recommends schools continue to follow the CDC guidelines as outlined here, whereas, those exposed to a COVID-positive individual should quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure.  


Media Coverage

Kansas City Star Story: https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article247142554.html

Kansas City Star Editorial Board: https://www.kansascity.com/article247155471.html

St. Louis Post Dispatch: https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/parson-relaxes-school-guidance-on-coronavirus-quarantines-in-missouri/article_1f23af61-fa37-56d4-9db6-548c1c10f02e.html

St. Louis NPR (Audio): http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=f45224cc-07b2-41fa-9fea-4d802fb4f625

Kansas City KSHB-KC (NBC): http://mms.tveyes.com/PlaybackPortal.aspx?SavedEditID=9c2397a2-177b-4e8d-aedc-25e330c656ee

Kansas City NPR: https://www.kcur.org/education/2020-11-12/missouri-recommends-kids-stay-in-school-even-if-theyve-been-exposed-to-coronavirus

Springfield News Leader: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/education/2020/11/12/coronavirus-missouri-relaxes-quarantine-rules-masked-students-staff-schools/6263760002/