Northside ISD teachers union demands that district follows Metro Health directive for schools

Metro Health recommends schools go to 100% virtual learning if risk level is in red zone

SAN ANTONIO – The Northside American Federation of Teachers is demanding that the district follow Metro Health’s recommendations for schools.

A statement from the teachers union urged Northside ISD leaders to “make decisions that will keep our staff, students and their families safe” during what they called “the most dangerous COVID spike since March.”

Metro Health’s directive says schools should go to 100% virtual learning when the school risk level is in the red or high zone.

The risk level is currently in the yellow/moderate zone where the county’s health officials said school buildings should be at no more than 25% capacity with six or fewer students in each classroom.

“The district communication from (Superintendent) Dr. Woods this weekend has us very concerned that the district is not putting human life as a priority in the decisions they are making. We continue to not agree with the direction the district is heading in, and we advocate that they follow the Metro Health Directive and listen to the advice of our city health officials,” the Northside AFT statement said, in part.

The union also urged San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Medical Director, Dr. Junda Woo and other city officials to advocate for students and staff.

“We ask Dr. Woo to publicly advocate for full virtual learning should our city school metrics make it to the red zone, and we ask her to promise to publicly ask the area superintendents to go to full virtual if we are to move into the school metrics red zone,” the union said.

NISD sent a letter to parents saying that schools are safe and that contact-tracing investigations have shown that most of the COVID cases among students and staff were contracted off-campus.

“We are aware of concerns expressed about our plans to continue to provide both virtual and in-person learning options for our families. However, we remain confident in the health protocols and safety measures in place at all District schools and facilities. These protocols will continue to be practiced on a routine basis and we ask that you reinforce them at home. These measures, including the use of a daily health screener, the use of face masks, frequent handwashing, and social distancing, are critically important,” the letter from NISD stated.

The letter reminded parents that students and staff who traveled internationally over Thanksgiving should self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to in-person learning.

On Monday, Woo issued a new health directive recommending that people not dine in at establishments or gather indoors with people they do not live with to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.