The closing of schools: what needs to be done before schools re-open

Tara Michel | 5/14/2020, midnight
Remote learning is currently occurring, but New York City School buildings have been closed through the end of the academic ...
Closed public school in Brooklyn Nayaba Arinde photo

Remote learning is currently occurring, but New York City School buildings have been closed through the end of the academic year. Gov. Cuomo has announced that all schools in New York State, including NYC, would remain closed.

The president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Michael Mulgrew says, “The governor recognizes the difficulties of re-opening school buildings in a way that is safe for students, staff and families. We fully support his decision to keep school buildings closed the remainder of this school year. This gives educators, parents and elected officials time to tackle the challenges of re-opening the buildings and figuring out the right balance of in-person and distance learning for when they do.”

New York is the nation’s largest public-school system and if schools re-open in the fall, major changes must be made to ensure the safety of our students and staff. NYS has some safety measures and protocols in place.

If school buildings re-open NYS can require that all students and staff who are planning to attend schools be tested in August for active or prior exposure to the coronavirus. Medical supplies must be available to get the temperature of students and staff. Anyone with a temperature above 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit should be sent home or to the hospital. To follow the practice of social distancing, the state thought of separate schedules where students come in the morning and afternoon shifts or on alternate days.

UFT is the labor union that represents most teachers in NYC public schools. They started a petition for school buildings to be safe when students and staff return. UFT and thousands of people who signed the petition want protections in place. Visit https://www.change.org/p/federal-government-school-buildings-must-be-safe-before-they-reopen to sign and protect our students, staff, and our families from the virus.