Demands For A Safe Reopening -Open Letter of NYC parents & families, educators #protectnyc

Demands For A Safe Reopening -Open Letter of NYC parents & families, educators #protectnyc

August 11, 2021
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Signatures: 6,894Next Goal: 7,500
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Why this petition matters


The Mayor and New York City Department of Education have promised a full safe reopening of our school buildings, but have yet to communicate any plans for doing so. With the surge of the Delta variant, the most transmissible COVID-19 variant to date and most dangerous among youth to date, and an explosion of cases, hospitalizations and deaths that rival numbers from previous COVID-19 waves, a comprehensive safety action plan must be shared with all, now.

The undersigned members of the United Federation of Teachers and, New York City parents and families, demand that the New York City Department of Education implement the following steps in order to reopen our school buildings safely because we believe in-person learning is an option for parents and guardians, if deemed safe by authorities, while still offering a remote option.


1.  Mandated vaccinations - Anyone 12 years of age or older entering a DOE facility, including but not limited to school buildings, should possess proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The unvaccinated, 12 years old and over, must not be allowed entrance in instructional spaces (unless there is a documented medical exemption). 

We believe the city and DOE should seek to utilize schools as vaccination hubs to ensure vaccine equity in underserved communities and to educate about vaccine safety.

2. Mandated masking - Everyone within the premises of a DOE facility must have a mask on at all times, except for eating at proper times. Failure to do so should result in their immediate removal.

3. Heightened COVID Testing and Tracing Protocols - Weekly random testing of at least 33% of the entire school communities. There must be baseline testing for all students and staff in September. We expect clear, strict and concise procedures in place for quarantine and closing down schools when there is a COVID outbreak. This includes a return to a school-wide 14 day quarantine based on a total threshold of 3 or more positive cases within the school community.  Baseline testing for all those returning from quarantine.

4.Strict adherence to social distancing - There must be strict adherence to at least 3 feet of social distancing at all times. Distance is subject to increase if authorities deem so.

5. Proper, Science-Based Ventilation in all DOE facilities- We demand for scientifically proven methods to control and monitor the spread of airborne diseases, including COVID, that include enhanced ventilation with outdoor air, and high efficiency filtration. Sites must be inspected and certified by a board certified industrial hygienist before anyone is allowed in the facility.

6. A Remote Option - A remote learning option for all parents/guardians that want to opt for one.

7. No Learning Loss Screenings/Diagnostics and Focus on SEL, trauma-informed supports - There will be no academic screening/diagnostic assessments for so-called deficit of learning/learning loss. Rather, we must focus resources on the social-emotional well-being of our students by funding after school programs, PSAL, counseling, social service and weekend programs.  We desire a pause in required high stakes state standardized testing until performance based alternatives are explored.

8.  Increased transparency, tracking capability and reliability in COVID-19 data reporting - We demand an updated COVID-19 city wide dashboard that is more transparent, meaningful and reliable in its data reporting of COVID-19 incident cases, hospitalizations and deaths that tracks over 90 day intervals and shows vaccination rates. 

Failure to implement these demands will result in a coalition of educators and parents urging UFT members, families and students to stay out of buildings deemed unfit until they are safe for teaching and learning. 

As a community of New Yorkers we have a sacred responsibility to ensure the collective public safety and health of our children, elderly, most vulnerable and those with limited access.

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Signatures: 6,894Next Goal: 7,500
Support now