Teachers contemplate statewide work action Nov. 12 to bring attention to their concerns
A statewide group of teachers is calling on their colleagues to stage a so-called “test out” on Thursday, Nov. 12, to highlight the safety risks of teaching during the pandemic.
A small union of teachers at Park City High School said it supported the effort, encouraging teachers who don’t feel Gov. Gary Herbert’s newest emergency measures go far enough to protect teachers to use a sick day on Thursday to be tested for COVID-19.
In a statement, the Park City chapter of the American Federation of Teachers said it expects both its members and members of the much larger Park City Education Association to participate in the “test out.”
“We hope that in doing so the State and local school district’s will take both UEA’s and AFT’s recent requests more seriously,” AFT wrote in the statement.
The UEA and AFT have called on school districts statewide to move to fully remote schooling between Thanksgiving and Christmas to prevent the potential of spreading COVID-19 after families gather for those holidays.
Representatives from the Park City Education Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment, saying that union would defer to the Utah Education Association’s position on the work action.
The Park City Education Association represents around 300 teachers in the district, while fewer than a dozen are AFT members. Representatives from the Utah Education Association’s chapters in North and South Summit did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The American Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the largest group of labor unions in the United States, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO.
In a statement on Tuesday, AFT Utah said it and the Utah AFL-CIO supports efforts to secure safe working conditions during the pandemic. In a previous statement, the Utah AFL-CIO said it supports whatever job actions are necessary to support the health and safety of AFT members.
It is unclear how many teachers, if any, will participate in the work action.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.