Teacher's union demands statewide policy for COVID-19 cases in schools

As the schools across the state prepare to reopen in the fall, the New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers are demanding that state health officials issue clear protocols for how to deal with a positive COVID-19 case in school.

Posted: Aug 10, 2020 6:03 PM

As the schools across the state prepare to reopen in the fall, the New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers are demanding that state health officials issue clear protocols for how and when school districts must close their buildings, and how health officials will perform contact tracing and initiate quarantines in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in a school this fall.

New York's teachers' unions said a single COVID-19 case in a school should require the closure of the building and a return to remote learning for 14 days before revisiting whether it is safe for the building to reopen. In addition, the unions are demanding clear statewide directives for how immediate contact tracing is to be conducted and for how mandatory and precautionary quarantining for those who may have been exposed in schools is to be implemented by local health officials.

The president of the Rome Teacher's Association, Rob Wood, says having a clear policy is important in the decision for parents to allow their kids to return to school, as well as the teacher's decision to return.

“If it’s a family of students, where something happens in one building, it's an extension and the possibility is a lot of people are exposed in a short period of time," Wood said. "Safety first, know what the plan is before we ask parents and the members that work in the facility to make a decision.”

Wood says he is confident in Rome's reopening plans, but they still need to know ahead of time what will happen if someone tests positive for the virus.

“I feel confident in that what we developed locally had the safety of everyone," Wood said. "I also feel confident that our leadership in NYSUT will force hopefully the Governor to make the right decision as far as what are we going to do, lay out the plan in advance so it's very clear what the procedures are during this process."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 449038

Reported Deaths: 33081
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens715777243
Kings669717315
Bronx525264939
Nassau461542201
Suffolk460102011
Westchester377551454
New York330113173
Richmond157131085
Rockland14801675
Orange11790498
Erie10917689
Monroe5876289
Dutchess5053153
Onondaga4201205
Albany3006134
Oneida2373123
Ulster223995
Niagara1714101
Putnam157363
Sullivan157048
Broome145969
Schenectady137748
Saratoga99017
Rensselaer89642
Columbia58037
Chautauqua5369
Madison48617
Ontario45635
Oswego4243
Tompkins3940
Warren35633
Steuben34442
Fulton33224
Otsego3255
Orleans32354
Chemung3223
Greene31918
Herkimer31910
St. Lawrence3154
Genesee3145
Wayne3095
Washington28714
Cattaraugus2536
Chenango2487
Montgomery2234
Tioga22225
Livingston2018
Cayuga1962
Jefferson1610
Essex1580
Cortland1550
Clinton1545
Wyoming1325
Delaware1304
Seneca1053
Allegany961
Schoharie830
Franklin640
Yates627
Lewis500
Schuyler370
Hamilton150
Unassigned016
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