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WTU Issues Statement on Vote of No Confidence in District Leaders' Handling of the Pandemic

The Washington Teachers Union has issued a statement to the public on the vote of No Confidence that took place at last Tuesday's WTU Representative Assembly.

As the governing body, elected Building Representatives and Delegates can bring new business to the floor for a vote to set the policies of the union, which is exactly what Michele Bollinger, the Building Representative from Wilson HS did on behalf of DC-CORE.

After a spirited debate on the merits of the resolution and our caucus, the resolution passed with 78% of the vote.

We hope that this inspires others to recognize their power as members to change the union from within. If we want the union to say something or take action, we have the power to make it happen.

If you are interested in learning more about DC-CORE, sign up at our homepage:

See the full text of the resolution below:

Resolution Calling for a Vote of No Confidence in District of Columbia Leadership’s Handling of Reopening Schools in a Pandemic


  • Rising COVID-19 cases, fueled by the delta variant, continue to impact the community, especially unvaccinated minors,

  • The Mayor and Chancellor

    • reopened schools without fully functional HVAC systems and inadequate filters for all spaces where students are regularly present, despite repeated requests and ample opportunity while buildings were closed during the 20-21 school year,

    • missed testing benchmarks during in-person learning in the spring,

    • failed to recognize school constraints with classroom sizes and student-teacher ratios, creating unsafe conditions,

    • neglected vulnerable staff by not offering a virtual accommodation for those with serious health conditions,

    • failed to recognize the need and demand for a virtual option, despite similar accommodations being afforded the charter school sector,

    • failed to effectively roll out school-based COVID testing during the first weeks of school, used tests that are inappropriate for many students without a nasal swab backup, as well as testing personnel that do not always show up with reliability, and failed to meet the 10-20% random testing benchmark,

    • established a definition of “close-contact” untethered to the realities of teaching and learning,

    • failed to include vaccinated personnel in the testing plan,

    • failed to report cases in a timely manner,

    • failed to establish metrics that would require a return to virtual instruction,

    • failed to establish a dashboard for DCPS case notifications with conventional public health metrics,

    • failed to establish adequate staffing levels and substitute teachers to cover academic programming during the pandemic,

    • showed wanton disregard for DCPS community members who are in close contact with unmasked or improperly masked individuals, sometimes for hours over the course of the school day.

    • underfunded mental health and social emotional support for students and staff dealing with trauma and loss during the pandemic and record-setting mass shootings in DC

    • allowed the eviction moratorium to expire, adding to stress and housing instability for families,

    • canceled the State of Emergency and services and benefits available to community members, including COVID leave for staff.


  • The Washington Teachers Union (WTU) affirms a vote of no confidence in Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn, OSSE Superintendent Christina Grant, DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee, and DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson.

  • The WTU calls on the DC Council to not confirm interim OSSE Superintendent Christina Grant due to her mishandling of COVID health protocols.

  • The WTU Calls on the DC Council to support the proposed legislation to make OSSE an independent agency under the DC State Board of Education

  • The WTU calls on the District leaders to address all the problems related in this document.

  • The WTU sends this resolution to all WTU Members, General Public and those named.

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