Teachers are raising questions about the city’s plan for schools to reopen on September 10. There is a lot of uncertainty about if and how this can happen safely. Mayor de Blasio so far remains adamant that on-site instruction will start next month, but there has been an increasing amount of push-back from the UFT, the principal’s union, a majority of the city council, and parent and student groups.
Hopefully, you received an invitation for the zoom meeting for ENYFA UFT members this week. The meeting will take place on Thursday, August 27 at 4 o’clock. James Duncan, our district rep will be discussing safety concerns and the union’s response. He and other UFT leaders want to hear from you. Please make an effort to participate.
The UFT is demanding safety protocols be in place, which include a school nurse in every building, testing of all students and staff for Covid infection, contact tracing, building inspection to assure adequate ventilation in all classrooms and adequate supplies of safety equipment. I’ve uploaded the UFT checklist at enyfaUFTer.net. The demands for school-wide testing and contact tracing were enumerated separately in this UFT-sponsored petition.
At a press conference on August 19 President Michael Mulgrew discussed his intention to delay the reopening by petitions in court and possibly with a job action by members. A strike or sick-out (which would also be considered a job action) would be used only as a last resort. The state’s Taylor Law imposes severe penalities for such actions. Any strike would require authorization by the membership and strong solidarity to succeed.
This recent statement published in the Washington Post by a parent-group PRESS is one of the most comprehensive critiques of the city’s current plans that I’ve read. I will continue to update the enyfaUFTer.net website with updates on the reopening plans and push-back.
I hope you’ll join us on Thursday. Don’t hesitate to contact me by text or voice at 347-217-2219 anytime. Stay safe and be well!