Another teachers union refuses to return to work

Some long-awaited good news for the residents of Virginia came out this week. Governor Ralph “blackface klansman” Northam announced that schools could be safely reopened in the next few weeks. With online “distance learning” turning out to be largely a miserable failure and parents scrambling to find new daycare options, many were breathing a sigh of relief, thinking there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel that wouldn’t turn out to be an oncoming train. Unfortunately, the celebrations didn’t last very long. Not long after the Governor’s announcement, a Virginia teachers union came out and told everyone to stuff it. They’re not going back to work unless their demands are met. This is looking increasingly like a hostage negotiation where the children are the hostages. (Free Beacon)

A Virginia teachers’ union says students should not return to the classroom until they all receive a COVID-19 vaccine—a threshold that may be impossible to reach given the FDA’s current age restrictions for available vaccines…

“The timeline and return to in-person instruction must reflect that we wait for the second dose to be effective,” union president Kimberly Adams said at a Thursday meeting. “Concerns also remain that students will not be vaccinated before they return to school. This will require that we maintain the hybrid model and continue social distancing, masking, and all other mitigation strategies.”

Although studies show that in-school transmission of COVID-19 is “extremely rare,” teachers’ unions across the United States have opposed going back to the classroom. In recent weeks, some public officials have changed their tune on in-class instruction—Virginia governor Ralph Northam said last week that schools could operate safely.

That’s pretty clever on the part of the teachers, isn’t it? They’re insisting that they don’t have to go back to the classrooms until not only have all of them gotten the vaccine but all of the children as well. That would be one heck of a trick to pull off for a couple of reasons.

First, teachers (as an employment class) are not included in either Group 1a or 1b in terms of those being prioritized for vaccination. (Though for some odd reason, prisoners and illegal aliens working in migrant labor camps made the cut.) Unless the teachers are over 65 years of age or have “a high-risk medical condition or disability,” they can’t get the vaccine yet even if they want to.

But even if they could, the other stumbling block is even larger. The Pfizer vaccine isn’t approved for anyone younger than 16 and the Moderna vaccine is only available to those age 18 and up. Johnson & Johnson began testing their upcoming vaccine on children age 12-18 at the end of last year, but that segment isn’t even close to approval yet. The result of all this is that even if you could get your hands on a massive number of Pfizer vials, only the juniors and seniors in the high schools could be vaccinated. All of the kids in K through 10 are not eligible.

The teachers union has effectively issued a decree saying that they won’t return to work in the classrooms until the state meets a set of demands that are currently impossible to meet. And why should they be in any hurry to return to class? The public school teachers all live on the taxpayer’s dime and they’re all still getting their paychecks.

Meanwhile, studies have repeatedly shown that COVID transmission in schools is “extremely rare.” Schools in other parts of the country have somehow managed to reopen (with commonsense precautions and social distancing, of course) without turning into superspreader hellholes. Surely the schools in Virginia could figure out a way to do this, right? Unless there’s some other motive hiding under the covers. But I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that score.