Thursday, September 17, 2020

UFT Executive Board September 17, 2020--We Will Keep Kids Safe and Take Care of One Another

 5:50 roll call


UFT President Michael Mulgrew--We were prepared for different tactics, but we knew we could not open Monday. We weren't ready. It wasn't safe. We need better quality for safety. This is due to advocacy of members in all boroughs. That's what union does. 

DOE didn't understand, but we were out on the sidewalk because things were wrong. Principals could say everything was fine, but it wasn't. We met this afternoon with DOE. We said enough is enough. You serve the schools, they don't serve you. 

We now have to make them fulfill the plan. Not there yet, but we've made major steps toward getting schools what they need. We were in chaos, with thousands of operational issues. Much of this is tied to economic recession. Budget cuts affect us too, and we were looking at 9000 layoffs.

Today we're in a place where the mayor has said we will find money to open school system safely. Now we've gone from firing teachers to hiring teachers. Right off the bat we will get 4500 for preK to 8. No agreement yet for middle and high schools, but we will have that next week.

Yesterday we were looking at chaos on Monday, layoffs. Now we are looking at phased in opening, and more teachers. Meeting daily with mayor about schools. In contact with person in charge of Covid testing and tracing. We have a situation room, and we are getting results faster. We will be getting tracing reports about schools. 

Last Monday we were talking about ventilation, and ten school buildings were closed. We made city hire independent ventilation company to inspect every school. Once again, the section of our school system that is forgotten, D75, sites all over the city didn't get what was promised. This is an important story. About a site where children go every day, not cleaned since August, with not one piece of PPE. 

Chapter leader took all his teachers out on the sidewalk Tuesday. On Wednesday the press heard their story. This framed everything for the rest of the week. Teachers were in chairs on sidewalk saying we're not ready. Parents were enraged at being forgotten yet again. They'd had enough and didn't want regression. Life skills abilities couldn't regress. They said they loved their teachers and paras, and their kids had to go to school. D75 jobs are tough but rewarding. 

We are opening our school system again. Low positivity rate allows us to. People want to abuse, attack and get rid of public education. We will show them how to get a school system open and safe. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for all the advocacy for our schools. Right now all of DOE is on the phone talking to us and everyone, getting D75 everything they need. They've hired 60 new special ed. teachers and need more. 

Our preK sites are getting a lot of attention, but it shouldn't be anyone getting better attention. We should all get the attention. PreK and D75 opening Monday. If you don't have an accommodation you are reporting to your worksite. That is how we keep them in check.

Number one building is signage. In buildings everywhere we have it. We need it in schools. We are getting standalone ventilation machines for elementary schools. 

Temperature testing--Some people are doing health screenings on their phones. Everyone should be doing one. If it goes red, you are not to go to the building. We will get a school by school report next week on screenings. This talks about temp, close contact, traveling into some states or out of country. In that is the temperature check. We can also do so in building. We know some thermometers are malfunctioning. 

If someone does not do the health screening done, all you need is the temp check and they will be good. We will contact the parent. Health screening is key piece. If someone has symptoms or develops them, nurse will make determination.

We've come a long way since last Tuesday because of you. Four ways test results come in. First, if individual goes to H and H designated fast track site. If you go there and say you are DOE you will go into a fast track system. We are now getting result in 24 hours. If it doesn't have DOE fast track, it's 48 to 72 hours. 

Private commercial labs are different. If a member goes to one, the turnaround is completely out of city's control. Could be long time. 3-7 days. But individual doesn't have to report. Then it goes to state DOH, then to city DOH, and then they will get in touch. Takes much longer. If someone self reports, DOH has backdoor way around us, and verifies every test, including all self reporting. They are now completely out of the loop. If NYC employees self report, school should know there is a possibility, and there will be a quick investigation. 

Important piece is any NYC employee with medical documentation is automatically a positive test result. Must be for COVID 19 testing, NOT antibodies. People need to understand the difference. Contact tracing now has dedicated group which needs training. We've been digging into this and will stay on it until we get it right. We have a long way to go.

I knew the DOE would do business as usual and just put it all on the schools. All about them talking to each other and directing schools. Story about D75 has changed things. This was tipping point. It is their job to provide PPE, and provide what schools need to be successful. 

I knew Monday that something had to give. Hopefully, with focus, and doing things for d75 that had never been done, hiring, and working out schedules, we will have a shot at having schools ready to go.


Principal and two people sent new schedule today, changed schedule, eliminated collaborative half hour to 15 minutes--

A--No way. Our agreement is based on agreed upon schedules. They can't pick and choose which parts of agreement they want to follow. Make sure this goes to superintendent.  

All D79 sites have had ventilation checks. 

Q--If I don't have accommodation but am full remote, why can't I do it at home?

A--If you're full remote I will let you know shortly, but we need you on site now to check that schools are in shape. We hope to clear this up by tomorrow. If you're fully remote you should be working at home. If school has large number of opt-out kids, some may have to teach remotely from building so everyone else can teach from home. Not resolved yet.

From yesterday afternoon, after meeting with DOE and CSA, we came up with agreement of teachers needed. Next we will look at middle and high schools.

Q--We still have no electrostatic cleaner. 

A--Problem with CUNY site. They haven't authorized spraying yet. Not part of CUNY cleaning protocols. Trying to work it out. CUNY got lawyers involved, want documents indemnifying them from any issues. If I have to intervene myself, I will. Why don't you write to chancellor of CUNY for now?

Q--Hearing from members that supervisors are not acknowledging agreement for related service providers saying it came from UFT. Creating confusion.

Mike Sill--I'll take care of it.

Mulgrew-We have to stay vigilant, keep advocacy up, and work out issues because we have to get open. Alaska is offering people money to keep kids at home, offering voucher for private online education. This is what we're seeing in this country, Alaska governor close to De Vos and her investments. These are our schools and our kids. We'll keep them safe and take care of one another.

blog comments powered by Disqus