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Washington Teachers’ Union Gives No-Confidence Vote to D.C. Leaders Over School Reopening: Report

The Washington Teachers’ Union has passed a resolution of no confidence in the leadership of the District’s public school system and the Bowser administration over the shaky reopening of schools this year.

The union said in a statement that Tuesday’s night vote was partly based on the safety of buildings during the coronavirus pandemic and contract negotiations, WTOP reported.

The resolution said school leaders reopened despite knowing of malfunctioning heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and not having a widely available virtual option for families wary of in-person instruction.

In a Committee of the Whole hearing of the D.C. Council last month, parents, teachers and students expressed frustration with the host of issues dealing with reopening such as building maintenance, inadequate coronavirus testing and inconsistent communication. The council recently passed legislation that narrowed expanded virtual learning, called for an increase in testing and widened the definition of an excused absence, WTOP reported.

Additionally, the WTU said the District government hasn’t provided enough support for people dealing with mental health issues who need emotional support “dealing with trauma related to the pandemic and record-setting shootings in the city.”

WTU President Jacqueline Pogue Lyons said the city also isn’t properly addressing teacher shortages and retention problems, noting that teachers “are exacerbated by protracted negotiations over a contract that expired in September 2019,” WTOP reported.

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