NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As staff returned this week to buildings, two Brooklyn teachers at two different schools have tested test positive for COVID-19.
The city is not closing the schools, which the United Federation of Teachers identified as PS 1 and MS 88, but is giving co-workers the option to work remotely pending contact tracing.
The UFT released the following statement in response to the positive tests:
“Until we have a vaccine in place, the most effective tactics against the spread of the coronavirus have been masks and social distancing, along with testing and contract tracing. All of these are part of the city’s safety plan.
“The plan anticipates that testing will sometimes show that asymptomatic individuals in schools have contracted the virus.
“The isolation and quarantine of such individuals, followed by aggressive contact tracing, are also key elements of the safety plan. We will be working with the city’s Department of Education and NYC Health + Hospitals to make sure that all affected schools follow the quarantine and contact tracing guidelines.”
It all comes as staff at other schools walked out, citing unsafe conditions, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Wednesday.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Schools: The New Normal
Yellow water. Dead roaches. Dusty desks.
That’s how teachers at a Crown Heights school for children with special needs were welcomed back Tuesday.
“It just looked dirty, like we left it in March,” special ed teacher Mark John said. “Your anxiety goes up.”
So after finding bathrooms lacked soap and promised PPE was not available, teachers worked outside. However, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza claimed only a handful of schools were affected.
“In some cases the landlord did not accept those deliveries. But this is why we have more time,” Carranza said.
He said there’s plenty of PPE and the situation is being corrected immediately.
But teachers also claimed the Department of Education did not arrange a ventilation inspection at the state-run facility, a process Mayor Bill de Blasio boasted about Wednesday when he shared a video that shows how issues have been fixed at four of the 10 schools that failed.
“This district should have been ready two weeks ago!” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We tried to have a meeting in this school and site in August.”
Some teachers in different parts Queens told Rozner their schools also had issues.
A Cambria Heights teacher called the situation a “(expletive) show,” adding there was “no toilet paper, no hand sanitizer dispenser, and one window doesn’t open.”
Another in Forest Hills said, “They aren’t actually checking temperatures physically … pretty risky.”
“Once the students come in all this stuff has to click into place,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.
He claimed wall-mounted thermometers were ordered, but there was no protocol from city hall.
A DOE spokesperson said in addition to at-home daily health screenings, schools will have random temperature checks.
But teachers are asking why that isn’t in place now, and why should they be the guinea pigs for safety.
For immediate release: DISTRICT 75, P352X STAFF REFUSE TO ENTER UNSAFE SCHOOL BUILDINGS: "We have come to the conclusion that the buildings are not safe and ready for entry by the staff and certainly not for the students in the next week and a half."https://t.co/VmCN192hmh
— MORE-UFT (@MOREcaucusUFT) September 9, 2020
Teachers at another special education school — P352X in the Bronx — also walked out Wednesday, citing issues there as well.
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