Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Strike is Off...

From Mulgrew's letter to members:

Schools will reopen for staff on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and for students on Monday, Sept. 21.

The decision on whether to reopen a school building to students will be based on the UFT’s 50-item safety plan, including the availability of masks and face shields, a room-by-room review of ventilation effectiveness, an isolation room and a COVID-19 building response team. Union reps are visiting every school to check that they have these supplies and procedures in place. School buildings or rooms that do not meet safety standards will remain closed.

The city has also agreed to a robust program of repeated random sampling and COVID-19 testing of adults and students present in schools. This new testing program is one of the major pieces that medical experts told us we needed. A blind representative sample, composed of 10% to 20% of all students and adults from every school, will be selected each month for COVID-19 testing. The percentage of staff tested and the frequency of testing will rise significantly in schools in zip codes with higher levels of the virus. Under the new agreement, any student who refuses to be tested will be required to attend school remotely, and any staff member who fails to comply with mandated testing will be placed on unpaid leave. 

Students or staff found to have the virus must quarantine for 14 days. City tracing teams will be dispatched to their school immediately to determine potential contacts. The presence of a COVID-19 case or cases confined to one class will result in the entire class moving to remote instruction; more than one case in a school will mean that the entire school will move to remote instruction until the contact tracing is completed.

As part of this agreement, we are moving back the start of school for all students. The seven-day postponement will give schools time to implement the required safety protocols and give you time for planning and professional learning.

I told you we would not go back into school buildings until independent medical experts had validated the safety plan. That is what we’ve done. Epidemiologists from Northwell and Harvard University have given their stamp of approval to the new agreement. Now it’s our job to be vigilant and ensure that every school is following the required protocols throughout the school year.

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