Teachers at dozens of school districts protested from their cars on Monday over plans by some US governors to resume in-class instruction during the coronavirus pandemic.
The teachers, who painted messages on their cars and formed caravans with other school employees, want instruction conducted online until testing shows that classrooms are safe and districts hire more nurses and counselors.
The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, the union representing public school teachers statewide, posted pictures on Twitter of protesters making cardboard gravestones with messages such as “Here lies a third grade student from Green Bay who caught COVID at school” and “RIP Grandma caught COVID helping grand kids with homework.”
Teachers in Chicago, Milwaukee and Philadelphia honked their horns in car protests. Demonstrators rallied outside the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce building, and in Connecticut about 400 formed a car march that passed Governor Ned Lamont’s home.
“I do not want to put my students or myself in harm’s way. I do not want to be an experiment,” Chicago elementary school teacher Andrea Parker told reporters.
More than 155,000 people have died nationwide from COVID-19 since the virus was first identified in the United States in January.
Deaths in the United States rose for a fourth week in a row to more than 8,500 people in the seven days ended Aug. 2, a Reuters analysis found.
At least 2,000 teachers, parents and community stakeholders, have signed a petition asking Gwinnett County Public Schools, the largest school system in Georgia, to allow teachers the option to work from home.
As of last Thursday, around 260 district employees had either tested positive for Covid-19 or been in contact with someone who was positive, according to Sloan Roach, the executive director of communication for Gwinnett County Public Schools.
The district, which serves about 180,000 students, decided to start the school year on August 12 with all virtual learning, keeping students at home. Meanwhile, teachers were told to report to school buildings on July 29 to prepare for the school year.
Teachers told CNN they are frightened of the risk of exposure, while they also grapple with their own childcare issues.