Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Seeks Temporary Restraining Order / Preliminary Injunction to Delay In-Person Instruction

Julie Sellers
CFT President

Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Seeks Temporary Restraining Order / Preliminary Injunction to Delay In-Person Instruction

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To: [Activist Name]

Subject: Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Seeks Temporary Restraining Order / Preliminary Injunction to Delay In-Person Instruction

From: Cincinnati Federation of Teachers/CFOP

Reply To: cft@cft-aft.org

 

Dear Member,

I want to make sure you were the first to receive this important update on our efforts to ensure a safe working environment for you and our Cincinnati community. Below is a press release with the details.

In Solidarity,

President Sellers

 

Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Seeks Temporary Restraining Order / Preliminary Injunction to Delay In-Person Instruction

 

For Immediate Release

 

On Friday, January 29th, The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) filed a complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. The action seeks an order delaying the reopening of Cincinnati Public Schools for in-person instruction until an arbitrator can decide a grievance filed by CFT contesting the reopening of schools under circumstances that pose a threat to the health and safety of teachers, other school staff, students and all of their families.

According to CFT President Julie Sellers, “the lawsuit was an unfortunate last resort for our union. We are disappointed the Board of Education and Superintendent Mitchell refused to seek input from teachers about when and how to reopen schools safely, even as Hamilton County remains rated “red” on Ohio’s COVID rating. That indicates our community remains in ‘public emergency’ status with ‘very high exposure and spread’ of COVID.”

In the lawsuit, CFT points out that the CPS Board abruptly abandoned metrics for reopening schools that it had adopted in December 2020. Those metrics said schools could be safely reopened only if the COVID infection rate fell below 40/100,000 (for Pre-K to 3rd grade) and 30/100,000 (for grades 4-12) for at least two weeks. The current reported infection rate in Hamilton County is 52/100,000.

“We have made a public records request for text messages and emails that might explain the basis for the abrupt change of course by the Board as COVID continues to threaten our community. Unfortunately, CPS has stonewalled, forcing us to ask the Court and an Arbitrator to intervene and protect our members, students and all of our families”, explained Sellers.

In response to a survey, nearly 80% of CPS teachers said they would be uncomfortable returning to crowded schools and classrooms for in-person instruction until vaccines are distributed and can take full effect. CPS teachers and school staff in grades K-3 began receiving vaccines on Thursday. CPS teachers have been teaching remotely since November 2020.

According to Sellers, “We are grateful that so many CPS parents and families have spoken out over the last two weeks, asking the Board to reconsider its position and keep schools operating remotely until teachers and staff can be vaccinated so we can return to classrooms safely.”

CFT will ask for a hearing on its request for a temporary restraining order in Common Pleas Court on Monday, February 1st.

CFT represents about 3000 Cincinnati Public School teachers and school staff members.

 

 

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