Middle schools will once again welcome students after the February break under the terms of an agreement between the city and state. Specifically, the city can reopen more schools after it has demonstrated it has built capacity to maintain strict in-school coronavirus testing standards.
However, the UNITY/UFT Caucus, under the leadership of President Michael Mulgrew, will monitor the situation to make certain the city can truly conduct randomized weekly testing of 20% of staff and students in every middle school building. In addition, we will also make sure that there is no diminishment in the current testing (the same 20% of staff and students) in elementary, K-8 and District 75 schools.
Furthermore, with middle schools reopening, UNITY/UFT insisted on:
- All students in school buildings must have testing consent forms on file. The forms must be signed by a parent or guardian or students may not remain for in-person learning.
- The city will provide all educators working in-person with additional opportunities for vaccinations through the union’s vaccine program
- The city will open new vaccination sites dedicated to DOE employees.
- The city will arrange to designate more vaccines to thousands of educators with the goal of offering a shot to every in-person teacher who would like to receive it.
- On Feb. 8, more than 400 UFT members received the vaccine at Thomas Jefferson HS as part of a program with Emblem Health.
We will of course continue to push for even more safety and health protocols. As UNITY/UFT President Mulgrew said, “We want our educators to be safe and to have access to vaccines if they want them. We want the continuation of strict testing and the closing of individual schools when necessary. It is our collective responsibility to do all we can to help our school communities thrive while we continue to fight the pandemic through safety protocols and vaccinations.”