Re: “Without greater support, it’s unsafe to reopen schools” [Dec. 20, Opinion]:
In her Op-Ed, Jennifer Matter vividly describes teachers’ fears of COVID-19. She fails to acknowledge the growing evidence that these fears are misplaced. She fails to fully acknowledge the unrelenting suffering of students denied meaningful education and social-emotional support at school. And she fails to acknowledge the harm and costs faced by families struggling to provide education and day care.
Teachers summoned to perform their duty are not made martyrs. They are asked to face manageable risks to serve children. If the governor’s guidance is followed, Seattle’s teachers — and other unionized Washington teachers — will join educators who have been teaching in this same pandemic around the world, the country, the state and the Puget Sound region.
Keeping schools closed protects teachers’ health at all costs. Opening schools does pose risks for some teachers — risks that many workers have had no choice but to face during this pandemic while being thoughtful and cautious about protecting themselves. But accepting this risk starts to address the harm Washington has inflicted on some of its most vulnerable residents and youth by denying them in-school education for months.
I hope Matter and her colleagues reconsider their position before we lose another school year.
Charles Gussow, Shoreline