Let's Get Back to School SAFELY:
Contain the Coronavirus BEFORE Reopening Classrooms

“Our state is now experiencing the worst we have ever encountered during the pandemic and opening the schools and rejecting mask mandates under these circumstances is insane and irresponsible.”
- Dr. Amy Bono, Tennessee, on behalf of 2,000 Tennessee doctors

Rushing to reopen the schools without first Tennessee getting COVID-19 under control will bring the same result Tennessee has seen since the rush to reopen the state in May: avoidable spikes in hospitalizations and deaths, but among our state's children, teachers and their families.

In-person classes should be delayed until Gov. Lee first does his job of getting COVID-19 under control.

Teachers and Parents refuse to endanger the lives of their children, colleagues and families.

Email Local, State Lawmakers on School Reopening

How Tennessee Reopens Safely According to Health Experts

The interventions needed to safely reopen schools are the same interventions the medical community has been saying for months are required to safely reopen our economy.

  1. Less than 10 new cases per 100,000 persons per day for at least 14 days in a row. You want low incidence AND stability. A major challenge is the silent spread of COVID-19 through populations. The virus can be transmitted in the 2-3 days before symptoms begin (the presymptomatic window) and can be spread even by infected persons who never develop symptoms at all (asymptomatic people). This is not a pandemic that can be controlled simply by isolating symptomatic people.
  2. Expanded contact tracing and regular reporting to inform school reopening. Parents, school staff need to know that people coming in contact with COVID are isolating, and not endangering children, teachers or families. If contact tracers are behind on notifying those exposed to COVID then people don’t know if they have been in contact with COVID and should isolate. If contact tracing is keeping pace we can be more confident those exposed to COVID are isolating, and not in schools endangering others.
  3. Ensure rapid and regular testing. A test today only shows whether you are infected today, and that does nothing to determine whether you get infected tomorrow. If testing is behind or slow then people don’t know if they should isolate and contact tracers will struggle to notify exposed people before they endanger others.

  4. Mask and distancing requirements with penalties for people who endanger others. When people refuse to wear masks or stay apart it threatens everyone else. When people ignore speed limits they are fined for endangering others. In this health crisis not wearing a mask and not staying apart endangers the lives of others. Parents need to know that people around their children (staff, other children, visitors) are required to wear masks and keep 6 feet apart or face penalties for endangering their children and family.

  5. Have accountability for employers and people who endanger others: Require employers to have safety measures in place to protect workers and the public and a way to hold them accountable when they don’t. If an employer is endangering the public or their workers, workers need a way to hold them accountable. Educators must have safe working environments and employers or parents who routinely endanger them must have consequences that protect the safety of our teachers.

Rushing to reopen the schools without first Tennessee getting COVID-19 under control will bring the same result Tennessee has seen since the rush to reopen the state in May: avoidable increases in hospitalizations and deaths, but this time those increases will be concentrated among avoidable hospitalizations and deaths among children, teachers and their families.

Tell Governor Lee:
Stop Dumping Your Responsibility on Local Counties, Teachers and Parents

The Stay at Home order worked, it slowed the spread of COVID-19 and bought Tennessee valuable time to address this health crisis.  But instead of using that time to get things under control like many other states, Tennessee squandered it in rushing to reopen without a more cautious approach to slow the spread and in rejecting mask mandates. Now things are worse.

Before schools can reopen safely, Governor Lee needs to first get the Coronavirus Health Crisis under control.

Gov. Lee's refusal to be the leader he was elected to be has made this health crisis worse. Gov. Lee has been rejecting calls from health experts since MARCH to take responsibility for leading in this crisis and providing Tennessee with a comprehensive statewide plan to get COVID under control. His rush to reopen the state against the advice of health experts, his refusal to mandate masks and his passing the buck on his responsibility to local school boards and mayors to figure out how to deal with a global pandemic all on their own has just made things worse.

Tennessee just had its WORST week yet in this pandemic and he wants to send children, teachers, staff back to school?

Tell Governor Lee to do HIS job if he wants parents and teachers to be able to do theirs, safely.

Join Teachers/School Staff REFUSING to Endanger Children, Coworkers and Families

Join the list of Tennessee teachers and school staff who refuse to be responsible for endangering the lives of their children, families and coworkers and who may refuse to return to school until Tennessee FIRST contains the coronavirus and meets the conditions laid out by the CDC and Tennessee health experts.

We will use this petition to privately and confidentially collect signatures showing teachers and staff united in rejecting the rush to reopen in-person classes until COVID-19 is under control first.

We want to show lawmakers that teachers reject being put into the position of endangering children and families and if it comes to it, may refuse to return in-person classes if state leadership does not first contain the coronavirus.

"Insane" and "Irresponsible"
- Tennessee Doctors on Reopening In-Person Classes