After she was caught wearing her mask down at the annual SOMOS retreat held in Puerto Rico, the headof a major teachers labor union apologized.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten — who has called for universal mask mandates for school teachers — took heat after she was spotted maskless at the SOMOS on Saturday.
Adriana Aviles, a concerned parent, and a former NYC Council candidate, tweeted a photo of the union boss and NYC Department of Education Chancellor Meisha Porter seated maskless with others at the event, sparking immediate backlash on social media.
“Gotta love when school leaders @rweingarten @DOEChancellor mingle with others..in a packed room…with no masks..yet…I wonder if everyone needed proof of Vax to attend this ‘work vaca’…they sure didn’t need masks… ” Aviles tweeted.
Weingarten, whose teachers union ranks second in the country, responded to the tweet by defending herself. She stated that all attendees must have proof that they have been immunized and that she had just taken a rapid test that showed her negative. But Weingarten conceded that Aviles was “right,” and educators should follow the same rules as students.
“You could not be #Somos or the hotel or panel w/o proof of vaccination. I had also just done a rapid Covid test & was negative. You are absolutely right. If kids are wearing masks in schools to protect themselves & others educators must wear masks inside as well. I’m sorry,” she said in the tweet.
Daniella Jampel (mother and founder of Keep NYC Schools Open) pressed Weingarten for an end to her support for mask mandates.
“But you enjoyed not having to wear a mask, right? While students in the city you live in – many of whom are vaccinated – have to wear their masks for 6+ hrs every day, even outdoors, while they’re in school. If you claim to be pro-student, as you claim, it’s time to take a stand,” Jampel tweeted.
Weingarten blamed her error on the faulty sound system but she said that she wore her mask throughout the conference.
“I wear a mask most of the time indoors,” Weingarten responded. “We took them off as people were having a hard time hearing us”
“Btw, i don’t like masks either..” she responded on Twitter. “it was a big room- larger than a classroom, and the audio system was bad.. But you have a valid point.. that is why I said you are correct. I wore my mask the rest of the conference”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer was also subject to backlash after he was photographed without a mask dancing at the conference.