WASHINGTON (KFOR) – A Congresswoman from Oklahoma has introduced a bill that would increase the wages for teachers who are required to teach in-person during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Congresswoman Kendra Horn introduced the ‘Educators Are Heroes Act,’ which would give educators an additional 25 percent hazard pay for time they are required to spend in-person at a public school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our educators are on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Congresswoman Horn. “Where schools have started holding in-person instruction, staff and teachers have gone to great lengths to adapt classrooms and keep students safe while providing a quality education. We know that educators providing in-person instruction are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. We need to provide our teachers and staff with the resources they need to make it through this crisis, and I’m proud to fight for them.”
Teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, cafeteria staff, custodians and other school staff all qualify.
More than 250 school districts in Oklahoma have reported COVID-19 cases, which has resulted in thousands of students being quarantined and moved to virtual learning.
The most recent White House Coronavirus Task Force Report shows Oklahoma is in the top five states for positive tests. Oklahoma has been in the “red zone” for ten consecutive weeks. The report also recommended establishing a weekly reporting among critical populations, including K-12 teachers, to monitor the degree of community spread.
“I am grateful for Congresswoman Horn’s leadership highlighting the much-needed acknowledgment of our educators throughout the pandemic,” said Torie Shoecraft, American Federation of Teachers, Oklahoma City Local 2309 President. “Earlier in the year, our teachers transitioned to virtual learning with little advanced knowledge, our cafeteria staff adapted to feeding thousands through pick-up sites and bus routes drop-offs, and our counselors adjusted to helping our students via electronic devices. Our educators required to return to the classroom are putting their lives on the line to teach and serve our students, and the least we can do is provide them hazard pay. Our educators truly are – as Congresswoman has rightly called them – heroes.”
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