U.S. teachers added to essential-worker list as they face White House pressure to return to classrooms

By Brendan O'Brien (Reuters) - U.S. teachers have been added to an advisory list of essential workers as they face pressure from the White House to return to classrooms even as their unions challenge decisions to return to in-person instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters August 21, 2020 06:10:40 IST
U.S. teachers added to essential-worker list as they face White House pressure to return to classrooms

US teachers added to essentialworker list as they face White House pressure to return to classrooms

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - U.S. teachers have been added to an advisory list of essential workers as they face pressure from the White House to return to classrooms even as their unions challenge decisions to return to in-person instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classroom aides and superintendents were also added to the updated list of critical essential workers that includes doctors, nurses and IT workers, in a memo on Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The list was intended to help state, local and tribal officials "protect their workers and communities as they continue to reopen in a phased approach," said the memo from the department's cybersecurity and infrastructure agency.

The memo said the move was also needed "to ensure continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security."

The list is advisory and "is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard," the memo added.

President Donald Trump has spent the summer pushing hard for schools across the nation to start the academic year with in-person learning, even as cases of the novel coronavirus have surged in some of the country’s most-populous areas, prompting districts to start fall classes online or offer at least some classes virtually.

Educators in Florida and Iowa have filed lawsuits challenging plans to reopen schools in those states, while educators across the country have held protests and threatened to strike if they are forced to go back into classrooms this autumn.

Several schools that began classes in Georgia and Nebraska have had to cancel in-person instruction over the past week due to outbreaks.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.