WXXI AM News

Teachers' unions: Close schools when there's a COVID-19 case

Aug 5, 2020

Credit Dan Clark/WMHT

NEW YORK (AP) New York's teachers' unions said a single COVID-19 case in a school should trigger its immediate closure for 14 days as they listed demands Wednesday for reopening this fall.

New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers called for the state policy just as New York is poised to announce initial decisions on reopening plans submitted by roughly 700 school districts. The unions said in a release that districts moving ahead with re-openings ``must err on the side of caution at all times.''

Districts submitted reopening proposals last week amid worries that resumption of in-person classes could put students, teachers and their families at risk. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this weekend that there needs to be a ``full conversation'' that answers parents' questions about reopening safely.

The unions said that when there is a positive COVID-19 test of a student or staff member, there should be an immediate closure of that school building and a return to remote learning for at least 14 days. They also want clear statewide directives how contact tracing and quarantining will be conducted.

``This is no time to take risks,'' NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said in a prepared release. ``If the state allows school buildings to reopen, districts must be prepared to close them in the event of a positive case.``

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. New York City's reopening plan ``lacks specifics'' on what happens if there's a positive case.