Teachers against teaching in COVID-infected schools

This 27 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

I’m 16 and went to the hospital twice for COVID-19. This is what it’s like l GMA Digital

Kaydee Asher filmed her experience with COVID-19. She said if it happened to her, it could happen to you.

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, Sunday, January 24, 2021:

Majority of black teachers do not feel employers have addressed their Covid-19 risks, polls find

… Over half of the 500 BME teachers polled at the union’s black teachers consultation conference said that they are very worried about their safety on the full reopening of their workplace. A further 16 per cent say they do not feel at all safe.

Over a quarter said they feel racism has got worse in their workplace since the pandemic started.

Britain: School workers are up to seven times more likely to contract Covid-19: here.

Teachers may get COVID-19 in reopened schools

This 25 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

California governor Newsom has so starved the California-Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that is it doing no physical inspections of factories, hospitals and workplaces to see if workers are protected from Covid-19.

Former California-OSHA Medical Director Dr. Larry Rose talks about the collapse of Cal-OSHA and his visits to the former NUMMI plant, now Tesla run by billionaire Elon Musk. Cal-OSHA refuses to have any inspections of the Tesla plant and is leaving it up to the Fremont police to protect the health and safety of workers. There are less than 200 Cal-OSHA inspectors and only one doctor and one nurse for California’s 18 million workers.

This interview was done on 5/22/20.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Almost 70 percent of primary school teachers and teaching assistants have doubts about the government’s decision to allow all children to go back to school from 8 June on. The one-and-a-half meter distancing measure cannot be properly maintained in crowded classrooms, say participants in an inquiry by trade union AOb.

Also, the extra cleaning that is needed is not yet properly arranged. In addition, in full classes you also get more parents at schools, which increases the risk of infection. Half of the 8000 participants are concerned that little is known about infection by young children.

See also here.

British schools during COVID-19, parody song

This 22 March 2020 satiric music video from Britain is called The Iain Duncan Smiths – The Deadmaster Ritual.

It is a parody of the song The Headmaster Ritual by The Smiths.

It says about itself:

The #GetBackToSchool single from The Iain Duncan Smiths.


Belligerent ghouls send kids back to schools
Spineless swines with bald minds
Sir IDS briefing the press
On behalf of Big Big Business
Blair and Blunkett and Alan Johnson
Complete the gegenpress

Don’t want you at home
Get out and learn
Free up your parents to go out and earn

We could even do Fit For School tests
Where we thwack you on the knees
Knee you in the groin
Throw pencils at your head
Give you full marks if you’re not dead

You’ll want to go home
But you’ll have to stay

Belligerent ghouls send kids back to schools
Down with social distancing rules!
Sir IDS is not impressedWith your weakling indecisiveness
Can’t do the military two-step
But I’ll get Mark Francois to stand on your neck

Get out of your homes
Let teachers be heroes
Lay down your lives to give dividends extra zeroes

Please excuse me, you say
I’ve got this terrible cough coming on
I’ll grab you off the beach
And pump you full of bleach
Grab you off the beach and pump you full of bleach
You’ll want to go home
But you’ll have to stay

School staff gets coronavirus infection

This 21 May 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: Elite Sydney school shut after positive COVID-19 test | Nine News Australia

New South Wales Education Treasurer Mark Scott discusses the closure of an elite Sydney boys’ school after a student tested positive to COVID-19.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

At a primary school in Eygelshoven (South Limburg), the coronavirus was diagnosed in four staff members. They have been quarantined, reports regional broadcaster 1Limburg.

The case at primary school De Veldhof came to light when a teacher turned out to be infected. The three other infections emerged from source and contact investigations. …


All parents have been informed about the infections. As long as their children don’t show symptoms of Covid-19, they can just go to school.

If a person shows symptoms of COVID-19, then it may already be too late. At first sight healthy people, not showing symptoms (yet) may infect others.

Newly born baby in South Africa dies from COVID-19: here.

Respiratory failure has occurred in some infected children and an emerging inflammatory disease may be connected to the coronavirus. By Aimee Cunningham, May 12, 2020.

Dutch teachers sceptical about reopening schools

This 16 May 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

COVID-19: Parents fearful of sending their children back to school

[Conservative] Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has sought to reassure parents and teachers over the government’s plans to reopen schools, but many are worried.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

[‘Moderate’ christian trade union] CNV Education conducted a poll showing that 49 percent of the 7,000 members who responded would prefer not to see primary education opening up fully until the summer.

“The practical consequences must therefore be carefully considered and discussed”, says chairman Jan de Vries. “Eg, Wash hands with 30 children six times a day. How much can you ask from the teaching staff?”

Keeping a distance of one and a half meters between students in secondary schools is also quite a job, De Vries fears. “Nobody should be asked to do the impossible.”

‘No return under unsafe conditions’ say South African teachers: here.

Striking Canadian teachers interviewed

This 21 February 2020 video from Canada is called Construction worker supports striking Ontario teachers.

From the World Socialist Web Site in Canada:

Two hundred thousand Canadian teachers strike, as global worker counter-offensive continues

By a WSWS reporting team

22 February 2020

Two hundred thousand Ontario teachers and school support staff joined a one-day province-wide strike Friday.

Striking teachers march around Queens Park in Toronto, Canada

The education workers are leading opposition to the sweeping austerity measures that are being implemented by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government and its premier, the Trump admirer and multi-millionaire businessman Doug Ford.

As part of its drive to “make Ontario open for business”, the Ford government is cutting almost a billion dollars per year from education spending, dramatically increasing high school class-sizes, eliminating 10,000 teaching positions, and seeking to impose mandatory on-line courses.

Teachers and school support staff are also a primary target of the government’s mendaciously named “Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act.” Through this law, the government is imposing real wage and benefit cuts on more than a million public sector workers, by legally capping their wage and benefit increases to well below the inflation rate for each of the next three years. At the same time, it is funneling still more money to the rich through corporate and income tax cuts.

Since 2018, and as part of the resurgence of class struggle worldwide, a wave of teacher strikes has swept the globe. Teachers and college instructors have engaged in strike action in all six continents, from Chile and Argentine to the US, Britain, Holland, Iran and India. Teachers went on strike in Colombia’s major cities Thursday and Friday to demand improved wages, health care, and the government’s compliance with previous agreements.

A section of the protest in Toronto

If education workers find themselves in the forefront of the opposition to austerity, it is because capitalist governments view the dismantling of public education as a key element in their evisceration of all the social rights of the working class.

As one striking Toronto teacher told the World Socialist Web Site yesterday, “If you can privatize education, you can privatize anything.”

… In Santa Cruz, University of California graduate teaching assistants are currently mounting a wildcat strike in defiance of the no-strike clause in the contract negotiated by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

Yesterday’s walkout closed all of Ontario’s 5,000 publicly funded elementary and secondary schools, impacting two million students.

There is great militancy among the teachers and educational support workers and mass popular support for their stand in defence of public education.

This 21 February 2020 video from Ontario is called Parents show support for striking teachers.

More than 30,000 teachers and their supporters rallied yesterday outside Queen’s Park, the provincial legislature in downtown Toronto. An estimated 20,000 more held a mass picket along a kilometers-long stretch of highway in Toronto’s sprawling Peel County suburbs, and 10,000 rallied in Kitchener-Waterloo, a regional center in south-western Ontario.

Many teachers brought hand-made signs that expressed their anger with the government and pointed to the devastating impact of the cuts and their blatant class character. Diana, a French-language immersion school teacher, told the WSWS, “The slogan on the Ontario license plate says, ‘A place to grow’. But it’s only a place to grow for those with money. Ford is cutting public education because they want to control poor people by keeping our kids ignorant.”

Diana, Paula and fellow teachers

Teachers who spoke with WSWS reporters at the Toronto rally expressed great interest in and solidarity with the struggles of teachers around the world to defend public education. Groups of teachers could be heard singing “We’re not gonna take it,” one of the main protest songs sung by West Virginia teachers during their 2018 wildcat strike. …

Ford and Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce have repeatedly threatened to criminalize all job action by the teachers and support staff and impose their cuts by government decree. For weeks, their standard refrain has been “there is still time for a negotiated agreement.” Yesterday, Ford stepped up the Conservatives‘ and corporate media’s smear campaign accusing teachers of taking children “hostage” for resisting the assault on public education and declared the strike “unacceptable”. …

Sonia, a high school teacher, told the WSWS, “All public sector workers need to unite. The only public employees Ford is backing is the police. There are sinister reasons for this. So far, these protests have been peaceful and lighthearted, but there is a potential that things could become more tense. We saw it with [federal Conservative leader] Andrew Scheer who said the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] should be sent against the [indigenous] Wet’suwet’en protesters blocking the rail lines. In the US, Trump says he has the police, the border patrol and law enforcement on his side. Ford wants to do the same.”


Rob, a high school teacher who spoked with a WSWS reporter at the Kitchener-Waterloo rally, discussed the government threat to legislate an end to the teachers’ struggle. “I haven’t talked with many teachers about what we would do or should do if Ford ordered us back to work. And I didn’t hear anything from the speeches today up on the stage about it. They told us that we do such a great job as educators. Sure, that’s true. They said how hard we work. True again. But I was expecting to hear something about what we do next. Other than a couple who mentioned not voting for Ford in two years, I didn’t hear anything. I want to know what we do next, not what might happen in a couple of years.”


Paul, a retired teacher with 30 years in the Toronto school district, said, “If you downgrade education, you downgrade democracy. They are dis-empowering the working class. Trump reminds me of fascists in Germany, diverting anger towards immigrants, and Ford is nothing but the Trump of the North. We have to stop them because every child deserves to have an education and a good future.”

Dutch teachers strike, pupils to Artis zoo?

This 6 November 2019 Dutch video was about a big national teachers’ strike in the Netherlands, against the austerity policies on education of the right-wing Dutch government, with demonstrations in various cities.

On 30-31 January 2020, there will again be a big national teachers’ strike in the Netherlands, against the austerity policies on education of the right-wing Dutch government.

Eg, on 30 January, there will be big demonstrations in The Hague, in Groningen and other cities.

The strike has much support among teachers, other school workers, students and parents.

Also, eg, from Ms Sarina Wiegman, the coach of the Dutch women’s football team, European champions and silver medal winners at the World Cup in France.

And also, support from Artis zoo in Amsterdam.

Normally, children of under 10 pay € 20,50 admission for the zoo. On the days of the strike, 30-31 January, that will be 4 € for pupils and students. Adults accompanying them usually pay 24 €. On the days of the strike, 18 €. All day, zookeepers will tell the visitors about the animals.

This 2015 video says about itself:

Micropia in Amsterdam is the first museum dedicated to the science of microscopic organisms. With high-tech and interactive exhibits, Micropia brings this world to life and makes this invisible world visible. In this video, Shoshannah from Awesome Amsterdam discovers that we all have trillions of microbes on our bodies and more that live in our homes and in our surroundings. And that they are necessary to our health, environment & the food we eat. Micropia is a fascinating visit that’s both entertaining and educational. Travel to Micropia and meet your microbes!

On the days of the teachers’ strike, pupils and students can visit Micropia for 5 €; usually 14 €. Adults accompanying them usually pay 16 €. On the strike days, 12 €.

Striking teachers block ministry with toy tractors

This 6 November 2019 Dutch regional TV video is about teachers striking in Rotterdam. The trade unions expected only a few hundred teachers marching in a local protest demonstration. However, thousands turned up, in yellow vests and with signs and banners. Police told the marchers they should stay on the sidewalks. The teachers did not obey that, and traffic at the Erasmus bridge stopped.

This 6 November 2019 Dutch regional TV video shows thousands of Rotterdam teachers blocking Erasmus bridge traffic.

This video also shows the teachers at the Erasmus bridge, with motorists honking to show their support of the strike.

Last week, the Dutch government said after negotiations with trade union leaders that they would spend some extra money on education: only once, for this year, not for the years after that. Some trade union leaders then said that today’s strike was off. Then, a small union, not involved in the negotiations, said they would strike anyway, as planned. Then, the rank and file of the biggest teachers’ union, the AOb, rebelled. The AOb chair, who had signed the deal with the government while bypassing the full union executive council, resigned. The AOb said the strike would continue. Then, the usually more conservative Christian teachers union CNV said they supported the strike as well.

Teachers say that their wages are too low, classes are too big, causing stress. A one-off injection of some money for one year only does not solve these long-term problems.

There are big demonstrations today in many places. NOS TV says there are 5,000 at a rally in Leeuwarden; with thousands more outside who cannot get into the venue.

Ten thousand teachers demonstrate in Amsterdam.

Also in The Hague.

Toy tractors in The Hague, ANP photo

Striking teachers ‘blocked’ the Dutch education ministry in The Hague with over 150 toy tractors; a reference to earlier farmers’ protests with real tractors.

This 6 November 2019 Dutch The Hague regional TV video shows an interview with a trade union leader.

Dutch education minister Slob claimed today that five of the six unions who had originally signed the deal still back it. That is misleading. Not only the biggest union, AOB, also the second biggest union CNV has dissociated itself from the insufficient government policy. The other four unions are small.

Dutch NOS TV says that 80% of all schools in the Netherlands are on strike today. 85% of parents support the striking teachers.

This photo shows parents demonstrating along with the teachers.

Thousands of teachers in the Netherlands at 4,300 primary and secondary schools, 80 percent of all schools across the country, staged a one-day strike November 6. The action was the latest in a series of mass protests across the country, which has been dubbed an “autumn of discontent.” It took place during a two-day parliamentary debate on the education ministry budget for 2020: here.

Bolsonaro militarising Brazilian schools

This 4 April 2019 France 24 video says about itself:

Brazil: Military discipline at school

Brazil‘s new minister of education caused an outcry among some when he proposed that schoolchildren recite President Jair Bolsonaro‘s campaign slogan each morning. But plenty of other Brazilians are happy to see more conservativism in schools. They are followers of a movement close to the Bolsonaro administration, and to Evangelical churches which claim to be fighting indoctrination in public schools after too many years of leftist government. Our correspondents report.

Translated from Belgian daily (Roman Catholic) De Standaard today:

Brazilian president Bolsonaro wants to militarize schools

To the class in army uniform

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro wants public schools to get less money. Unless they transform themselves into military schools, then the money is ready. “A conscious strategy to anchor yourself ideologically.”

So, extreme right Bolsonaro, just like his United States ally Trump; who was educated at a military academy, but was a draft dodger, avoiding having to go to the Vietnam war (like that other United States president, George W Bush).

Barely two days after Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, of the Workers Party (PT), left jail thanks to a Supreme Court (STF) ruling granting some five thousand Brazilian prisoners the right to remain free until exhausting their appeals, President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to have the ex-president re-arrested under Brazil’s dictatorship-era National Security Law for “inciting violence”: here.

Chicago striking teachers, students speak

Striking teachers marching in downtown Chicago, USA

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

Chicago Public Schools teachers, staff and students oppose concessions

By a WSWS reporting team

24 October 2019

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers, staff and students rallied in support of the teachers and staff strike that began last Thursday.

The WSWS spoke with teachers, staff, parents and students on their demands, on the conditions in the schools and their opposition to the Democratic Party’s decades of attacks on public education …


Glenn, who will start a teaching job in CPS next year, explained why he had come to the morning protest: “What brought me here is that I have three kids in the CPS who are currently at home. I have the view of both a teacher and a parent of three children under five. I know there is a lack of resources in the schools and for the teachers. As a parent, I feel the brunt of it.

“I have seen kids act out, and they don’t have a counselor at the school. School should be a safety net, not a prison.

“The politicians of both parties are fattening their pockets and pursuing their own agenda, not one that helps people who work and make the country go.

Katie has been a teacher for six years and before that she was a teacher’s aide for three years.

She said, “The main issue is student-based budgeting, according to which a certain amount of money is allocated per pupil. This pits schools against one another for pupils. It was brought in by [mayor] Rahm Emanuel.

“The fight for more librarians, counselors, social workers partially combats the effects of per-pupil budgeting. It is a question of fully-staffed schools.

“The wages of support staff are so low they all have second jobs. I’m paycheck to paycheck like everyone else, but we’re not supposed to say we’re striking for higher wages.”

Pierce Elementary School students Shayana (bottom) and Maralyn (center)

Shayana,13, came with a group of students from Peirce Elementary School. She said, “I’m here to support the teachers. My mom used to work at a school. The class sizes were 39-40. That’s crazy. We need to improve the conditions.”

Maralyn said, “I’m striking because we need small classes, social workers and nurses. We don’t have a nurse at our school. A student hit his head and had a concussion, and all they could do was give him an ice pack.”

“In 2012, the union didn’t win a single concession for us. I think that the relationship between teachers and the city of Chicago has been ‘take what we give you and be happy.’ I think they’re just expecting us to roll over and take it, but we’re all here today because we’re sick of it. I think we’re unhappy that [it’s as if] the CTU didn’t even read the contract last time, and because of that, we’ve been grinding it out. What kind of damage is that doing to all of our students?”

Asked about the statements made by Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot that there is not enough money for public education to meet teachers’ demands, the teacher responded, “There is money. The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds [slush funds that divert property taxes normally meant for schools and services to mayoral control for ‘business development’ increased 27 percent in the last year.

CPS teacher with picket sign

“There have been over a billion dollars spent on the police over the last several years. What about all of the corporate money from companies that are doing business in Chicago that is supposed to be taken to be used to fund the public sector? Why are they robbing from the public to make sure that the private sector keeps doing well?”

Regina, a CPS elementary school teacher, spoke about the lack of resources in the schools.

“I’ve worked at schools on the north side and on the southwest side, and there is a huge discrepancy in funding among some of them. At the school that I work at right now, we only have one nurse that comes in once per week. We don’t have any after school sports or programs for the students to enrich their educational experience.

“This year I have 33 students in a class by myself. It’s really rough. There are class size panels that are held every year for CPS, but the sizes that they decide upon in those panels are never enforced. We should have a cap on class sizes, like they do at some of the schools in the suburbs, such as when a class reaches 25 students, then you need to bring in another teacher.”

A group of high school teachers and staff from the south side of Chicago spoke about their demands.

“We need far more staff in the schools than we have now,” a special education teacher said. “We don’t have enough social workers or counselors for all of the children who come in traumatized. In some schools, we don’t have a nurse. If a student has a medical emergency, then what are you to do? As teachers we are the counselor, the nurse, the social worker, and the trauma center for these children.”

“Being on strike is the best way to serve our students,” a young teacher added, remarking on the calls by the Lightfoot administration and Democratic Party in Chicago that teachers should go back to work while the contract is being negotiated.

“My classrooms all have at least 30-plus [students]. A lot of our students are coming in with trauma, and you can’t teach them until you first unpack what’s going on at home. So making sure that those needs are met is key.”

“There’s a lot of money that’s there and instead it’s being used on things like the Lincoln Yards [luxury development],” another young teacher said. “That’s around a billion dollars that could have been given to help communities that have been economically blighted. A lot of schools were closed five to seven years ago.”

Another teacher spoke about the way that schools in poorer, working class communities were systematically slated for closure.

“The schools that we work at are held to the same standards as the more well-funded schools. Then they tell us that even though we don’t have the same resources that we are underperforming. How can you do that? They know we don’t have the same amenities.

“We’re [scolded by CPS] because our kids aren’t coming in at a 95 percent attendance rate. Well, our kids are coming from bullet-riddled neighborhoods where there are shootings every weekend. They aren’t coming from two-income homes.”

“We’re also fighting for salaries,” the young teacher added. “How can we even afford to live in the city when we’re not nearly being paid enough?”


Marcus, a veteran school worker, said: “I have been in the Chicago Public Schools system since 1994.

“The main issue in the strike is smaller classes. Right now, you have kindergarten classes with 40 students. How do you expect the kids to be able to read under those conditions?

“Since I began teaching, conditions have gotten worse. They are not putting money where it needs to be, for the benefit of the children.

Charter schools don’t help. They are taking away from the student population. I also don’t like standardized tests and evaluations of teachers. If the principal wants a teacher out, he or she will give the teacher a bad evaluation.”