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Press Release



February 3, 2021
Contact: Christina Mazzanti

Association of American Educators Responds
to Biden Administration Plans for Reopening Schools Safely


Mission Viejo, CA – Colin Sharkey, executive director of the Association of American Educators (AAE), a national nonunion, professional association serving educators in all fifty states, released the following statement in response to the Biden Administration’s plans for reopening schools safely:

We support the efforts of the Biden administration and others who seek to safely reopen our schools for in-person learning, beginning with K-8 schools at the direction of local communities.

Our children need to be back in school safely with their teachers, and we must make that our priority. The administration’s goals of accelerating vaccine distribution to educators and providing school staff with adequate PPE are essential steps of that process. Ultimately, school reopening must remain a local decision by districts and communities to meet the needs of students and keep educators and families safe, but in many communities this means schools will open safely.

In the debate to reopen schools, it has primarily been union leadership vocalizing efforts to remain closed, often disregarding guidance from health experts and the example of many schools that have remained open safely. This position also ignores the opinion of many educators who want to be in school with their students. Many educators know getting back to school is what their students need most right now and they want to follow the guidance of health experts. Doctors and mental health professionals agree on the value and need for in-person instruction—and that with proper precautions schools do not pose a significant risk of spread. Educators, too, know that there is significant harm done to children the longer schools remain closed, especially to students with special needs and those without reliable broadband access.

To be clear, educators are concerned about conditions in their school and the safety of their students and their loved ones. As a professional association serving tens of thousands of educators nationwide and aggressively defending the employment and health rights of our members throughout the country, we defend each educator’s right to be safe in their workplace. We encourage districts and schools to provide a virtual option, to accommodate wherever possible, to follow recommended safety measures, and to share information openly with the community. Safety protocols such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and adequate ventilation will remain essential for schools to open and remain open for learning.

We have tremendous confidence in the ability of educators, parents, administrators, and policymakers to collaborate to find solutions that best serve kids. This responsibility to open schools is not on our educators alone. We all need to remain vigilant and follow precautions so that schools can safely remain open.

We have lost too much to COVID-19 and this includes the emotional toll and learning loss our students are experiencing as schools remain closed. Educators, administrators, families, and advocates are committed to making the return to school a safe reality for their learners are committed to making the return to school a safe reality for their learners. This must be the nation’s priority as well.

The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, nonunion, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE serves members in all fifty states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month and includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources, and many other benefits. Classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, student teachers, university professors, and supporters can learn more at