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CYPRESS — The Cy-Fair American Federation of Teachers has filed a lawsuit to stop the on-site professional development that started in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD today.

The hearing is expected to begin at 6 p.m.

The Cypress News Review requested a statement from the district, but due to the obvious legal issues, a CFISD spokesperson stated: “The district does not comment on pending litigation.”

“So my message today to my fellow Cy Fair parents, our educators are doing this for us,” said Cy-Fair AFT President Nikki Cowart. “They are saying what we all know … If they report to work these next three weeks and get sick, it will prolong how long we will have to wait for students to return. Our teachers always have our kids’ backs. Now is the time for our Cy-Fair community to have their backs.”

According to a news release from the teachers’ union, Cowart stated “Our school district has ignored our pleas to reduce the number of school personnel required to be in school buildings because of a surging COVID-19 infection rate in the Houston area. What the district is doing could further spread the virus and contaminate our schools; we don’t want to be a part of that problem. Minimizing the number of employees at schools and worksites allows our community to slow the spread and get the virus under control. As president of Cy-Fair AFT and the parent of two Cy-Fair students, I know that is not the way to start the new school year.”

“We will not let ourselves become part of the reason why our students cannot return,” Cowart added. “The district is conducting professional development and new teacher orientation in a manner that further illustrates it is not modifying protocols enough to meet the health and safety requirements that would properly mitigate the spread on school campuses.”

As previously reported in the Cypress News Review, 43% of CFISD parents decided to start the school year online-only.

“We have to get the virus under control, not bring people to campuses unnecessarily and potentially increase the spread. Everything that the district wants to do with professional development and orientation can be done virtually,” she said.

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo said, “This district’s dangerous dictate for educators to return to schools is another needless consequence of Gov. Greg Abbott’s complete disregard for getting COVID-19 under control in Texas.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “This is another reckless example of ignoring science, safety and basic humanity in the zeal to pretend there is no pandemic affecting the Texas and the United States. Making educators enter Cy-Fair school buildings right now, given the surge in COVID-19 cases in Harris County and without following safety protocols, will jeopardize their health and safety and that of their families and the children they serve. It’s just wrong. Cy-Fair should spend the time planning for a way to reopen school safely, not dangerously.”

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