Coronavirus Updates: Teachers Union Director Says New York Schools Still Not Ready to Open


This is our daily update of the latest COVID-19 news for Tuesday September 15, 2020. Previous Daily Updates can be found here, and updated statistics are here.New York is in Phase 4 reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gymnasiums. A glance to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our Coronavirus FAQs regularly updated. Here are some local and national hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; New York State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

Here is the latest:

Less than a week before the first official day of school, the leader of the New York Teachers Union once again casts doubt on the city’s ability to reopen public schools amid concerns over staffing , test delays and building safety.

“We have not achieved the goal of preparing all schools by any means,” Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Teachers’ Federation, said at a press briefing Monday afternoon. “We still have a lot of work to do. ”

He added: “If you asked me if we are ready to open today, I would say we are not. ”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this month that 90% of school buildings were ready “right now” and that no building deemed unsafe would be allowed to reopen.

But Mulgrew cited a host of issues on Monday, including staff shortages, uncertain assistance and general concerns about building safety. He also highlighted the city’s two to three day lag on test results, a delay he called “unacceptable.”

So far, at least 55 DOE staff have tested positive for the virus out of nearly 17,000 people tested.

On Monday, the mayor announced the creation of a COVID-19 “situation room” to manage testing and contact tracing in public schools as well as the additional hiring of 2,000 teachers.

Hurry up. While online orientation is expected to begin on Wednesday, New York City is expected to reopen school buildings on Monday, September 21, six months after they were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. On September 1, de Blasio and UFT reached an agreement to delay the reopening in order to give the city and schools more time to prepare, thus avoiding the threat of a teachers’ strike.

Some teachers argued that a few extra weeks was not enough to tackle all the challenges posed by an unprecedented public health crisis. On Monday, teachers from six schools in the city held a “work out” in which they protested against building safety while working outdoors.

During his press conference, Mulgrew questioned the number of students in the city’s roughly 1 million public school system due to show up next week, saying the union had received reports that the number of students opting for distance education only went. to the top.

The city has not confirmed the latest figures, Mulgrew said.

Over the past five weeks, the number of students enrolling in distance-only learning has increased steadily, suggesting a reluctance of parents to at least start the school year as part of the mixed or hybrid plan of the city. On Monday, the New York City Department of Education reported that 42% of families said they would keep their children at home for distance learning only.

Some education experts, such as Brooklyn City Council member Mark Treyger, who heads the council’s education committee, said he expected many parents to wait until the last minute to take a decision. Parents can opt for distance education only at any time of the school year.

Responding to Mulgrew’s comments, Miranda Barbot, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, noted that the city had hired 2,000 educators as a step to meet staffing needs and that New York City was the ” safest big city to reopen schools ”.

“These unprecedented circumstances are exactly why we postponed the first day for the students – to give the staff more time to work together and plan the year ahead,” she added. “We continue to work closely with our union partners to address all of their concerns. “


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