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California teachers fight back against pressure to reopen schools

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California teachers fight back on reopening schoolsCalifornia Gov. Gavin Newsom insists schools need to make their best attempt to open this fall, warning of the educational and social-emotional impacts of keeping kids out of the classroom.

He’s ordered a mountain of masks and other protective gear for schools to encourage safety amid a rash of new coronavirus outbreaks that have forced him to reinstate stay-at-home orders and shutter bars and restaurants that had barely reopened.

But the California Teachers Association, one of the largest and most powerful unions in the country, says it’s still worried. The union is insisting on prolonging distance learning instead of forcing its army of more than 300,000 educators back into schools.

“We hope we don’t have to go there, but if it comes to it, we do retain the right to refuse to work under unsafe conditions,” said David Fisher, president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association. “The virus is raging, and the circumstances that we were thinking we might be dealing with in September only a few weeks ago seem to be changing by the day. It just is looking increasingly unlikely that we will be able to teach in person at any level when schools first open.”

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