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
New CDC Guidelines are an important first step - now state and federal leaders must provide the resources to keep students safe while prioritizing educators for vaccination.
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - Today the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a strategy guide for K-12 schools to help communities plan and implement the delivery of safe in-person instruction. Phil Murray, president of the Missouri National Education Association issued the following statement:
Schools should be the safest place in any community. Now that we have clear CDC guidance, state and local leaders need to provide the necessary resources to ensure the safety of students, educators, and their families. No one wants to return to in-person learning more than the educators who dedicate their lives to help their students succeed – that is why for the last 11 months, educators, along with parents and students, have been calling for clear guidelines for how to reopen school buildings and campuses safely based on science.
However, we must recognize too many state and local leaders have ignored guidelines they found inconvenient or too expensive. If we are serious about students, educators, and their families' safety, that cannot continue. Many schools across Missouri have struggled through the pandemic with outdated ventilation systems, no tracing or testing program, and inadequate space for social distancing. Educators, who for 11 months have gone to extraordinary lengths to support their students have been unable to receive the vaccinations that will keep them and their students safe. The new CDC guidance is an excellent first step, but now action is required.
Educators, students, and parents have done their part; our schools have been open since the beginning of the school year using hybrid or virtual instruction to support students while keeping them safe. Now, it is time for our state and local leaders to put the resources in place to implement all CDC safety guidelines in every Missouri school and prioritize the voluntary vaccination of educators.
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.
Today’s guidance from the CDC includes five key mitigation strategies for implementation in all schools:
- Consistent and correct use of masks
- Social distancing to the largest extent possible
- Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Contact tracing in collaboration with local health departments.
The CDC guidelines can be found here: “Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation.”
NEA (video): Briefing on CDC Recommendations (2/17/21)
NEA: CDC Guidance Good First Step - But Now It's Time for Action (2/12/21)
US DOE: Strategies for Safely Re-opening Elementary and Secondary Schools (Feb 2021)