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NY teachers’ unions question school reopening plans

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Posted at 2:23 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 13:43:14-04

NEW YORK — New York’s powerful teachers’ unions said COVID-19 cases in schools should trigger an immediate 14-day closure as they listed their demands for reopening this fall.

New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers called for the state policy as New York is poised to announce initial decisions on reopening plans submitted by roughly 700 school districts.

According to current New York City plans, if a single student or teacher tests positive for coronavirus, just the people in that class will be told to self-quarantine for 14 days since their last exposure to that individual.

The unions said in a release that districts moving ahead with re-openings “must err on the side of caution at all times.”

“There is no room for error,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. “New York City’s reopening ‘plan’ lacks specifics on what happens if there’s a positive case. The state must step in for the sake of New York City students, educators and families, and those across the state.”

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said this isn't the time to take risks.

“If the state allows school buildings to reopen, districts must be prepared to close them in the event of a positive case, but efforts can’t stop there," Pallotta said. "Clear state guidance is needed to ensure that confusion doesn’t obstruct serious efforts to stop the spread of this virus in our schools and in our communities.”