Tell Lawmakers: Reopen Schools SAFELY

Now more than ever, this virus has shown us that we are dependent on our public school teachers and each other. Whether we’re Black or White, Latino or Asian, rural or ubran we know it’s time to pull together to demand the health protections, testing, treatment and time off we all need to get or stay well.

We get through this together. Our own health depends on the health of the person next to us, and the person next to them.

Some seek to turn us toward going it alone and fear of making small sacrifices to protect each other in response to this viral outbreak.
But we know that our own wellbeing is tied to everyone else’s.

Schools should reopen as leaders ensure that they have done everything health experts say are essential to ensure they are safe places for our students, teachers and their families.

Gov. Lee's refusal to listen to the health experts allowed things to get worse. Tennessee has seen people working hard to protect others getting sick, hospitalized and dying because of all those who won't. Any one person’s wellness depends on everyone else’s.

Whether it’s people with chronic health conditions or people without shelter, teachers or parents, people living in detention, people providing vital services or those who can’t forgo a paycheck to stay home, we must ensure all of us can access the care we need and have the support required to protect everyone’s health.

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.

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

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 of 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.

Gov. Lee has called on Tennessean's to 'do their part' to contain Covid-19 while refusing to do his own.

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