SALEM, Ore. — A group of Oregon teachers calling on schools to not have in-person classes took their fight to Salem on Monday.
The Facebook group “Oregon for a Safe Return to Campus” organized a car caravan protest in Salem to call for 14 days of no new coronavirus cases before opening in-person classes in the fall. Hundreds of educators joined in the rally by driving and honking at the Capitol building.
Teachers had signs with statements like “I can’t teach if I’m dead” and “Don’t make me choose between my life and my job.”
“The point is just to draw attention to our cause. Fourteen days of no new cases. We are really concerned about the safety of our students, the safety of educators and the safety of the families that we all go back to,” said Ian Mauer, a math teacher at Cleveland High School in Portland.
Veteran educator Tom Beaman joined the protest. He's taught social studies in the Reynolds School District for the past 32 years.
“It’s not safe for students and it’s not safe for staff. There are too many cases being added each day,” said Beaman.
Some educators have said they want to return to the classroom and the Center Disease Control recently pushed strongly for in-person school.
“There will be some people who disagree with our cause, but I'm really in this for solidarity; with my teachers who are in some high-risk categories. And so maybe it's not me who's going to get severely ill, but it's going to be somebody who I work with and someone who I care about. And, that's what drives me to be here today,” said Mauer.