Teachers Organize As COVID-19 Outbreaks At Schools Concealed

| Organize!

Above photo: Washoe County Schools Superintendent Kristen McNeill talks to students returning to Greenbrae Elementary School in Sparks, Nev., on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. AP/Scott Sonner.

Using the fraudulent pretext of “protecting medical privacy,” a growing number of states and school districts across the United States are deliberately concealing information from the public on COVID-19 outbreaks in schools that have reopened. These include the states of Maine, Virginia and Oklahoma, as well as Camden County, Georgia, and Orange County, Florida. In Tennessee, Louisiana, and many other states, the decision is left to each individual county, and an unknown number of county officials are concealing outbreaks in schools from the public.

Following an outbreak in Camden County in early August, Deputy Superintendent Jon Miller sent a districtwide email to administrators, writing, “Staff who test positive are not to notify any other staff members, parents of their students or any other person/entity that they may have exposed them.” The district has not publicly confirmed a single case, while the virus is raging throughout the state, and there have been rumors of infections at multiple schools.

This criminal policy of concealment has become the modus operandi across industries—including in logistics, auto, meatpacking, health care, and more—and serves as a primary mechanism for implementing the homicidal return-to-work campaign of the ruling class. If cases are concealed and no one knows whether their coworkers have been infected, the powers-that-be can justify reopening while the pandemic spreads even more rapidly.

The American ruling class, like its counterparts in Sweden and many other countries, is actively seeking to develop “herd immunity” based on infecting huge sections of the population, which will produce further mass deaths. Already, over 180,000 Americans have been killed as a result of this murderous policy. In Sweden, authorities deliberately kept schools open in pursuit of “herd immunity,” producing a per capita death rate nearly 10 times that of its neighbor, Finland, which in contrast closed schools and most businesses.

The drive to reopen schools is now the linchpin of the broader campaign to resume production in the US and globally. In order to force parents back into unsafe factories and workplaces, the ruling elites in the US, Brazil, Britain, Germany, Australia and a growing number of countries are determined to force educators and children back into unsafe classrooms. Setting a precedent of not reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in schools in the US will have immense ramifications for the working class internationally.

Since late July, there have been well over 2,800 reported infections of students and staff from at least 800 schools in 46 states. Dozens of schools in Florida have reported infections, with at least 1,200 confirmed cases. In Mississippi, 71 of the state’s 82 counties have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools, and at least 200 students and 250 teachers have tested positive statewide.

Join the fight against the deadly reopening of schools across the US!

  1. Read and share the statement of the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee
  2. Register for our call-in meeting on Saturday, August 29
  3. Join and help build the Facebook group
  4. Sign up for the WSWS Educators Newsletter

In Georgia, at least 84 schools have already had outbreaks, with a combined 337 confirmed cases. In the Cherokee County School District alone, nearly 2,500 students and 62 staff members have gone into quarantine.

No doubt authorities also fear that the release of information about new outbreaks will provoke teacher strikes and student walkouts. The drive to reopen schools has already encountered enormous opposition. Since the beginning of July, there have been hundreds of protests in nearly every state. Last week, nearly half of all teachers and support staff in J.O. Combs Unified School District, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, carried out a wildcat sickout strike.

The news that districts are keeping COVID-19 cases secret was widely shared in the dozens of Facebook groups that have formed to oppose school openings. In one group in Rhode Island, which has over 15,000 members, a member commented, “By staying hush, they are aware that basically, it could kill people. I can’t believe what’s happening.” Another wrote, “This makes tracing impossible. Absolutely irresponsible and dangerous. Denial is just going to make a bad situation worse!”

Last week, the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee was founded to organize the immense opposition to the drive to reopen schools and the assault on public education. Safety committees, which are independent of the unions, are being built on district and state levels. These committees demand the immediate release of all known and suspected COVID-19 cases at every school and workplace, and comprehensive testing and contact tracing programs, which are the prerequisite of any rational plan to contain and eradicate the virus.

Even the most basic right to information can only be secured through the independent initiative of educators, parents and students. The teacher unions at every level, and both the Democratic and Republican parties, have made clear that they will facilitate the covering up of this vital information, and do everything they can to keep educators isolated by district and state.

The situation is now critical. The lives of hundreds of thousands are on the line. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security quietly branded teachers and all education workers “critical infrastructure workers” on the instructions of the Trump White House. The DHS is the same agency that oversees the paramilitary BORTAC forces which Trump deployed in Portland and other cities last month, as part of his preparations to erect a presidential dictatorship.

By attaching this label to educators, Trump is enabling state and local officials to invoke “national security” and use their repressive state apparatus to force teachers and school workers back to work, even if they are known to have come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

Demonstrating the manipulation of science in the interests of the ruling class, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidelines that fully sanction the reopening of schools. Where outbreaks of COVID-19 occur, the guidelines advocate the short-term suspension of individual classes and the cancellation of events and afterschool activities, rather than the shutdown of the entire campus.

While acknowledging that “children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the CDC downplays the danger by claiming that the children only “might play a role in transmission.” This is despite multiple comprehensive studies proving that children do transmit the virus. The CDC concludes that “in-person learning is in the best interests of students,” ignoring the permanent physical and emotional damage that will be inflicted upon children who spread the disease to teachers, parents and grandparents, dwarfing any disruption caused by online learning.

In the struggle for their health and safety—and for the social interests of the vast majority—educators, parents and students must base themselves on the latest science, which proves demonstratively that reopening schools is a deadly endeavor.

The Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee is working to coordinate a unified opposition to the nationwide campaign to reopen schools. We will do everything in our power to assist in the building of local rank-and-file committees in every school and neighborhood, to unite with broader sections of the working class in preparation for a nationwide general strike to halt the reopening schools, stop the spread of the pandemic, and save lives.

Everything depends on the independent initiative of educators, parents, students and the entire working class. We urge all those who support these principles to get involved with our work, share our statement widely, join our Facebook group, and build rank-and-file safety committees at your schools, workplaces and neighborhoods to prepare for the struggles ahead.

  • John R.

    Concealing Covid outbreaks qualifies as “Texas Stupid.” I wish that state were farther away from the one I live in.

  • rgaura

    If `infections´ means a positive test, that does not mean the person has any symptoms, or is sick. Whole countries, like Iceland have studies that show not one transmission from child to adult. 80% of those infected´ have no symptoms. That means they are not sick. This source is hysterical propaganda.

  • RickW

    Nitpicking.

  • Many people are symptom free or relatively symptom free the entire time. They’re just carriers and spreaders of the virus. An infected person will not see symptoms until around 14 days. At the first sign of symptoms they go get tested but for the fourteen days they’ve had it and didn’t have a single symptom they’ve been passing it off to everyone they’ve had face to face contact with.

    There are no studies in Iceland to determine if it is passable from child to human because we already know that it can be passed between humans at any age and between humans, camels, cows, cats and bats. Oh, that 80% is a number pulled out of thin air like the Iceland study you mentioned, @rgaura. Locate and paste the doi number for this study so that I can look at the research myself, e.g. doi: 868930275ucjsd or it will list an http address after the doi:

    It’s not hype as much as it is a pre-ejaculation of panic because it’s still fairly new yet effective. Whether or not a person gets symptoms their bodies will still suffer physical damage to the arterial walls of blood vessels because it first attacks the ACE2 protein before it damages in different layers of the blood vessels which in turn releases coagulants into the blood stream in an attempt to repair the damage to the arterial wall. Depending on how many layers deep the damage goes will determine which of the three clotting factors it’s release into the blood stream. Most of the people killed by CoVid-19 die from heart attacks or strokes. Who knows how many cases have not been properly attributed to this virus due to dying this way?

    The cases that are easier and quicker to attribute to CoVid are those that have visual damage in the lung tissue. It is an arterial disease that leaves behind permanent damage to the lungs of those who have been infected by it. Now there are many people who never suffered a symptom during the time they were infected with it but who later notice they get winded just walking to their mailbox and back. Another symptom they get is light-headedness and tiredness after performing a fraction of the work they normally would. This is my only concern, personally speaking because I wouldn’t know what to do if I became fatigued during my nightly marathon sex!

    I previously referred to what one person called hysteria or hype as a pre-ejaculation of panic because the total number of death only account for 3.33% of all cases in the U.S. and 3.4% of cases worldwide. I was expecting the daily death rate to be 600,000/ day in the three months following the curse I cast upon the world on December 8, 2019. I was so pissed that day that had I been holding the trigger to 10 Tsar Bombas spread across all seven continents at that moment I would’ve squeezed it until it broke. Oh, well…. I’m quite happy with 832,607 souls freed from their prison cells, a wrecked economy, all of the many detailed events that occurred as a cascading result of this pandemic and the end of previously planned events like sports. I wrote the script for it and since then I’ve been receiving daily progress reports and checking off each of the scripted events one by one as they occur. Hell, this virus has mutated four times since the beginning of the pandemic. I write down the count because I scripted that it would mutate an infinite number of times and that it will be unstoppable until there’s no host left for it to live in.

    What I’m most satisfied with is the performance of Donald J. Trump. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hate Donald “the jack-off” Trump more than I’ve ever hated anyone in my fifty years of life here on Earth. My script included Trump and his entire administration along with every conservative Republican as the vehicles to effectively make my curse a success while at the same time completely destroying their professional careers, for some of them their marriages and friendships while the common members of the Republican party would scoff at this pandemic, refuse to wear a mask — even become violent if asked to wear one — and as a result, they would catch this virus and die.

    Truth be told, I was hoping for a death toll of 1,964,356.12 souls per day every day for the next ten years (3,650 days) for a total of 7,169,899,825 vanquished souls piled so high that no matter where I went on Earth I’d be able to taste the stench of death on my pallet — a scent that would rival the most fragrant rose garden anywhere in existence. Now this would leave roughly 600,000,000 to live like kings and queens for the remainder of their lives.

    I’m still pinching myself on a daily basis in disbelief of how closely it follows my script outside of the statistics, of course. Out of all of my associates the only one still alive won’t talk to me after noticing and reading the script tacked to my wall. That is, after previously cursing that person for betraying me in a horrible way. At that time I handed them my only copy of the 28 page script as a gift — more like an omen that they scoffed at. Then they showed up on my door step one year later making a scene while blaming me for every even that occurred over that past year that I hadn’t seen them down to the fine details. I told them to quit their damned crying and learn to be thankful.

    This person lost three corporations, each to their partners would turn out to be so vindictive it would defy the belief of any sane person, they would play completely unfair, using illegal tactics and that in the end this person would watch their $29 million dollar retirement vanish by way of defending against bogus lawsuits and in supporting the brother of the used car salesman (the lawyer — and not just one). They even brought the police with them — I guess they expected the police to do something about what I had done. They asked me if I had written the 28 page curse she had shown to them — I replied, “Yes, absolutely!” They told me I wasn’t a very nice person for wishing the events upon this person that were detailed within the 28 page script I wrote to this person. “Good luck convincing a judge that any of it is my fault. Your remarks are to be expected from someone who has only heard one side of a situation. Maybe we should call Paul Harvey to get the ‘rest of the story’ before jumping to any judgements, but that’s why you’re cops and not a judge,” I replied.

    To the cursed person who brought the police with them to confront me I asked, “Did any of your children or grandchildren die?” “No,” they replied after hesitating a moment to think about my question to them. “Then you need to be thankful and show gratitude for whatever you do have in your life beginning this minute, lest you possess the massochistic desire to experience Act 2 of that script. Now leave before I request a police sergeant to force you all to undergo psyche evaluations for inferring that these events had anything to do with my willing them into reality — as true that may be — I deny to recall any part of this matter!” I didn’t need to read a copy of that script because I remember every single detail and nuance of it even though I wrote it in almost complete darkness by only the light of a street lamp sixty feet away. That was just before ritualizing the events in a performance that psychologists call “Transformative Psychodrama” but I choose to call the great purge. I expel the pent up emotions completely and in the most dramatic of performances one could view by watching a movie, only it takes me four, five and sometimes six hours to fully expel every last drop of emotion — to the point of collapse from total physical and mental exhaustion. When I wake up I go about my life without thinking or dwelling about that situation, that person or anything to do with it. This last sentence is the key to it all. One pushes one’s will into a slot of time and space and then pulls it into reality by divorcing themselves of all feeling or thought related to it ever again. Abracadabra….. Shemhamforash…..