AFT president Randi Weingarten apologizes for going maskless at SOMOS retreat in Puerto Rico

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AFT president Randi Weingarten apologizes for going maskless at SOMOS retreat in Puerto Rico

The head of a leading teachers labor union who has pushed school mask mandates apologized after she was caught with her mask down at the annual SOMOS retreat in Puerto Rico.

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 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 is the second largest in the nation, defended herself in a response tweet, saying that all attendees at the event must have proof of vaccination and that she had just tested negatively via rapid test. 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. Frankly I think you are 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 to end 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, who called for mask mandates among teachers, apologized in a social media post for not wearing a mask during the conference.
Weingarten, who called for mask mandates among teachers, apologized in a social media post for not wearing a mask during the conference.
AP

Weingarten blamed her mistake on the faulty sound system, but said she wore her mask for the remainder of 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 real point.. it is why I said you are right.. I wore my mask the rest of the conference”

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer also faced backlash after he was photographed dancing at the conference sans mask.

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