Education Austin calls for 100% online learning this fall

AUSTIN ( -- Austin's teacher union is sounding the alarm on their concerns over classes resuming in the fall.

Education Austin, the union that represents teachers and employees within the Austin Independent School District, held a press conference Wednesday morning to announce their call for 100% online learning this fall.

Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin, said the union is calling for a minimum of a nine-week delay in returning to campuses. Right now, AISD plans to begin the fall semester on August 18 - and a nine week delay could push the return to campuses into mid-October. During that time, all learning would be conducted online.

"All signs point to disaster," Zarifis said. "This building is on fire and raging, and we have a commissioner and a Governor that is saying 'run into the building', and we're saying we will not."

Zarifis said the decisions on when to return need to be made by scientific experts, not politicians. "We are dying to go back to work, but we are not willing to risk death to go back to work," Zarifis said.

The group is also demanding additional "hero pay" for employees that must be on campus, including for meal distribution.

Earlier this week, both district and state officials both announced plans for offering either 100% online or 100% in-person learning this fall.