"NYC teachers union ups the pressure to delay school reopening, demanding COVID-19 tests for students and staff"
Article written by Christina Veiga for Chalkbeat
In anticipating schools reopening on September 10th, NYC teachers union is calling for a massive program to test for antibodies as well as the coronavirus in children and staff returning to school. As of the time this article was written, an estimated 700,000 students are planning to return to school buildings one to three days a week, while some 66,000 teachers are expected to return to their classrooms. The scale of such testing would surely delay the reopening of schools, which some parents and officials such as Mayor Bill deBlasio are opposed to as it would keep parents from returning to work. The union's other demands include proper ventilation in school buildings and ensuring that each school has the necessary PPE supplies including N-95 masks for nurses, "Without more robust testing and assurances that health precautions have been taken, Mulgrew said schools should not open. He said the union is prepared to head to court, or to strike or encourage sick-outs." Other school officials across New York are calling for a delay on reopening as well, "The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals, recently called to delay returning to school buildings. Principals across entire districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn have also petitioned the city to push back the start date." Mayor de Blasio assures that measures are being taken and schools will only open if the COVID infection rate remains below 3%. However, without widespread and recurrent testing, many feel that reopening will only endanger lives, “You want to make sure that people don’t have the disease first,” she said, “and then you use the PPE [like masks] as a secondary measure rather than relying on it as the sole measure.”
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