According to newly released emails and documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the American Federation of Teachers was more deeply involved with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s school reopening guidance from February 2021 than previously reported.
Powerful AFT boss Randi Weingarten spoke twice by phone with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in the week leading up to the Feb. 12, 2021, announcement that halted full re-opening of in-person classes — including the day before the guidance was released.
“Randi Weingarten colluded with the Biden administration to put politics over science, threatening the wellbeing of children,” APT Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland told The New York Post. “Her multiple calls, emails, and non-scientific recommendations to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and her team illustrate the level of dark money influence that was allowed to shape school reopening policies. While both Walensky and Weingarten have tried to mislead the public, their emails and phone logs tell the real story. Congress must stand up for the American people and get answers from Weingarten at this hearing to ensure she is finally held accountable.”
Additionally, AFT and its fellow union, the National Education Association, also asked the White House and CDC for help shaping its press strategy, specifically on “a few comms-related questions.” Initially, this email exchange was redacted, forcing APT to sue to force the agency to release additional records.