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Of Course Teachers Want Schools to Reopen

Randi Weingarten
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Daniel DiSalvo asks: “Will Unions Let Schools Reopen?” (op-ed, June 30). Of course! The AFT published our school reopening plan in April. We said it isn’t a question of whether to reopen, but how to do it safely. We need the infrastructure and investment to physically distance, stagger classes, provide personal protective equipment and test, trace and isolate new cases. The real question is whether the Trump administration will pay for this, but, knowing money is an issue, Mr. DiSalvo raises the red herring of teacher pensions to try to pit teachers against parents.

The only time pensions have been mentioned during reopening is in the context of senior teachers being offered retirement incentives, because they may be at risk if they return prematurely. We agreed it was a good idea to explore. But to suggest a Covid-19-induced state funding shortfall should be solved on the backs of teachers by denying them retirement security—their own deferred wages—makes an already bad economic situation even worse.

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