School building reopening plans must meet safety standards

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s current plan for reopening school buildings does not meet the safety standards our children and school staff need.

The UFT worked with the city to develop many of the safety standards included in the reopening proposal, but the mayor’s current plan falls short.

For school buildings to reopen, school communities need:

  • Voluntary COVID-19 testing for all students and school-based staff returning for in-person instruction.
  • A rolling testing regimen in every school community for adults and student volunteers to identify those infected with the virus but asymptomatic.
  • The results of these tests should be available within 24 hours.   
  • A dedicated group of contact tracers to investigate who else has been exposed when an adult or a student in a school contracts the virus.
  • A school nurse in every school building.
  • Evidence that the protections and procedures outlined in the plan have been implemented, including the testing and upgrading of ventilation systems, and the necessary staff and supplies to deep clean the buildings every night. 

We cannot contemplate the reopening of New York City’s school buildings unless Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan includes these critical health and safety measures. To do otherwise would be to put our students, their families and school staff in danger and would risk a citywide resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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