The Texas Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee wholly endorses the courageous call to action by Lisa Diaz, a parent in the United Kingdom, for a school strike uniting parents, teachers and workers worldwide. We are heartened by the support this has received from workers internationally, as well as scientists, and encourage others in public health to come forward and support these efforts. Her call was also retweeted by Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam, an expert in the quantitative analysis of pandemics, and Dr. Malgorzata Gasperowicz, a developmental biologist and a researcher at the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and a co-founder of ZeroCOVIDCanada.
Millions in Texas have been infected with COVID-19, with more children having been infected within the first month and a half of schools reopening than were infected in the whole 2020-21 school year. Total infections, including educators, are already 82 percent of the total 2020-21 school year at 183,000 cases, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Similar to the UK, safety measures have been thrown to the wind across Texas. The state government is engaged in its homicidal “herd immunity” policy, which has already led to numerous deaths among educators and children this school year and the bleeding dry of the education system of teachers and staff, while obscuring the true spread of COVID-19 in schools.
In the United States, more than 200,000 children have been infected every week for the past five weeks, with 20 children dying every week for the same period. At the present trajectory, nearly 1,000 children will die over the course of a year.
The deaths of children, educators, parents and the general public from this preventable disease has killed almost 700,000 Americans and counting, eclipsing the total cumulative combat casualties for all US wars combined. Half of all states recorded more deaths than births in 2020. This must be put to a stop! There is no acceptable level of spread of a deadly airborne virus like COVID-19.
In the face of these massive infections and deaths, the Democratic Party have continued its policy of fully reopening schools, with extremely limited safety measures under its “mitigation” policy, leading to schools being the number one source of cases in many of these states .
Meanwhile, the AFT has partnered with the far-right parents group Open Schools USA to promote these clearly homicidal school reopenings in a town hall event on Thursday, which includes Dr. Jay Battacharya, a signatory of the Great Barrington Declaration, as well as Dr. Tracy Høeg, another prominent “herd immunity” proponent, anti-masker and anti-vaxxer.
In opposition to the “herd immunity” advocates and their mitigationist allies in the teachers unions, we fully endorse the eradication strategy which entails the shutting down of nonessential businesses and schools, full pay for workers and small businesses during temporary lockdowns, mass testing, contact tracing, and all other public health measures, as well as an actual campaign to educate the population on vaccines and fully vaccinate them.
There can be no living with the virus. The only scientific policy is eradication, and any attempt to compromise on this can only lead to disaster. SARS-CoV-2 is a virus governed by biological laws, it cannot be reasoned or bargained with. Given the chance, it can and will spread, mutate, produce more deadly, contagious and vaccine-resistant strains, as has already been seen, and pose an even greater threat to humanity.
We call on parents, teachers and workers to read the perspective statement published on the World Socialist Web Site calling for an eradication strategy, as well as to watch the recording of the webinar held on this topic, and adopt the strategy of eradication, and to sign up to build or join rank-and-file committees in their schools and workplaces to fight to end the pandemic and save millions of lives.