Monday, December 07, 2020

UFT Executive Board December 7, 2020--School in the Times of COVID 19

UFT President Michael Mulgrew--Asks for moment of silence for Barbara Schiller, who passed today.

Says schools ran smoothly today. City is allowed to change plan as long as they adhere to test rules. Says testing will keep us extremely safe. Closed 1400 schools based on monthly testing, not weekly. Schools said large majority of students came in.

Parents had many complaints about consent forms. Did so on clipboards. City doing much better than rest of state, where there is real problem. Doesn't seem to work in Western NY, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany. Layoffs happening in Syracuse, Schenectady, Albany, up to one third work force. Not making it into news. 

People are taking advantage--State has not cut budget. District using this saying people aren't working, firing paraprofessionals. NYSUT going after school superintendents. 

Waiting on stimulus. We will see. Now it may be just for next two months. If nothing done, large % of people will lose permanent housing. January 1, all protections are gone. 

Many virtual classes done last week at UFT. Working for homeless coalition, and will do Feed NYC event. Will be tough winter for many. People are reaching out to us, running out of food. 

Operational things moving forward, clearing more quickly.

Debbie Poulos--We continue to resolve issues, getting stipulations. Reaching out to CLs to make sure they get correct info.  

Mulgrew--Monitoring to make sure 20% testing done each week. Mayor said he would try to open schools in orange zones. We disagree. If any schools have positivity rate of 2% they must close.

 Ellie Engler--Every day DOE gives principal list of randomized people including staff and students. No one should've been in school without consent. Every staff person must be tested according to DOE, but some say DC37 isn't tested. 

Mulgrew--State plan mandates everyone.

Engler--Waiting to hear from Tweed. Issue was in Brooklyn. Target to test 825 schools this week.Vendors have randomized lists, and they can add if someone is absent. Committed that results will be available on website. By midnight, I will get list of number positive in schools. One SI school, they didn't show up, but other schools were good.

Mulgrew--About 42K per week is 20%. Can they get to every school? 9% citywide is number where everything shuts down. Will depend on behavior. Vaccine push--NY state will not mandate vaccination. Will run aggressive ed. campaign. AFT and NEA want teachers in cohort 1B so we can have access. 

In some parts there is very little virus, in others there is more. If there is issue in building it will be shut via situation room. Major increase in testing should get us through this safely. Our state is doing relatively well. None of this is easy.


% of Covid for citywide shutdown--Now based on area. We will get in fight with mayor. State number is 9. That's for complete shutdown. Business community wants things open. Spread is troubling. CA just went into major lockdown. You will see constant closures. We will close schools every day. We closed 400 with monthly. Weekly will be more. State will have new round of orange and red zones. 

% of Covid for zip code--School shuts down with 2 non linked cases.

Since city mandates booster shots, shouldn't we mandate covid vaccine? State issue, have to see what state does, now saying they won't do it. As for children, not sure. Also state issue.

Can paras work in breakout room with no teacher? No definitive answer. I had para who worked with groups. If it's sending para out of room with same students each day, then no. 

Mike Sill--Can only be while teacher is in main room of virtual space, so teacher can easily go from one room to another. Para may help with asynchronous instruction if best served by para. Has to be teacher's Google Classroom. Only if it follows IEP.

Can students return to school WO consent form? No. Anyone without one was sent home saying they can come back when they have form. Students will be on register to 12/23, and then assigned to full remote. Zero tolerance. 

When we get vaccine and have side effects, what will happen? Can these people use two week time to recuperate? No conversations so far. At some point, if people refuse vaccine, they may not be covered.

Only one DOE testing in N SI. Should be more on S. Side. There is a site in SI South, drive through.

If you have antibodies, do you need vaccine? Will have to ask doctors. Doctors are very optimistic about vaccine, now that more info is available. Excited about response vaccine. First round could be a week away.

Let's get UFT sweatshirts for people who need to keep windows open. Thank you. Be safe and well.

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