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Thursday, July 23, 2020

CSA Blasts the Failure of the NYC Department of Education To Plan For a Proper Reopening of Schools in September

Mark Cannizzaro
This is good. Now the Principals' Union CSA agrees with the general consensus of parents and teachers that the NYC Department of Education is unprepared to  open in September.

The NYC DOE must set up distance learning the right way, and keep schools closed until there are sufficient safety measures to assure everyone that all are safe inside the building. There is no substitute.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials 

Principals union rips ‘alarming’ lack of DOE preparation for school reopening

, NY POST, July 23, 2020

The city principals union blasted the Department of Education’s “alarming” lack of preparation for a system reopening Wednesday — and warned that a September resumption looks “less likely” each day.

In a letter to members, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators president Mark Cannizzaro scorched the DOE for a cascade of blunders — from insisting on professional development training in the midst of coronavirus chaos to rolling out a “poorly implemented” summer program to its uncertain embrace of a hybrid teaching model.
“You have done everything the DOE has asked of you from the onset of this pandemic, and your frustration with this alarming lack of direction is beyond understandable,” he wrote to the group’s members. “CSA knows that without clear guidance and support on protocols and issues of safety, staffing, and programming, your tasks are unrealistic and insurmountable.”
Cannizzaro warned that the bungling has made the already shaky prospect of an on-time September reopening even more uncertain.
“Yet, through no fault of your own, as each day passes without clear guidance and safety assurances, it becomes less likely that we will be ready to reopen in September,” he said.
Cannizzaro said the DOE ignored union objections to mandatory training programs in the midst of a pandemic because the agency felt the lessons were “too valuable to miss.”
“I find it hard to believe and extremely misguided that you are being asked to concern yourself with anything other than reopening plans for the remainder of the summer,” he said.
With principals in an uproar, the DOE agreed to push back a deadline for individual school reopening plans until the middle the August, according to the letter.
“It is our hope and expectation that DOE uses this time efficiently and appropriately guides, directs, and answers you in a manner it has not done to this point,” he said.
Cannizzaro’s letter also skewered the department for asking principals to complete a reopening survey that did “not address the real and practical concerns our team has surfaced centrally, nor many questions you have raised in the field.”
“Ultimately it is the responsibility of the DOE to set policy and provide resources required to implement their plans,” he said. “Although this should not have to be said, no less repeated, it is also the responsibility of the DOE to clearly communicate those plans to you directly. Unless and until the Chancellor’s team has done so, no plans are final or definite despite what you may have heard.”
With the scheduled start of school fast approaching, the DOE is facing double-barreled union resistance to its reopening timetable.
Teachers union boss Michael Mulgrew told members this week in a conference call that the organization would actively resist a resumption of school if a slew of safety and operational demands were not met.
Under increasing pressure on multiple fronts, Mayor Bill de Blasio softened a pledge to reopen the nation’s largest public school system on time this week, saying a final decision won’t come until the cusp of the new academic year.
The DOE said Thursday it was fully engaged with both unions and pushed back on Cannizzaro for the tone and timing of the missive.
“The health and safety of our principals is a top priority, which is why we regularly meet with the CSA and UFT leaders and members in large and small groups, engage in follow up conversations, await their sign off on key policies, and collaborate on the timing of announcements,” said spokeswoman Danielle Filson. “Now is not the time to stoke fear and anxiety amongst school leaders and we will continue, in partnership with CSA, to work around the clock to develop guidance that aligns with this evolving health crisis.”

NYSUT and AFT Demand That School Districts Follow Guidelines For Health and Safety If Considering Reopening

UFT President Michael Mulgrew
Apply for a remote work accommodation
FROM the UFT July 15, 2020:

Dear UFT Member,
The Department of Education’s systemwide reasonable accommodation process opens today. You may submit an online application if you are considered at higher risk of severe illness if you contract COVID-19.
The UFT got the Department of Education to streamline its reasonable accommodation process. We wanted to make sure that everyone who is eligible to work remotely would be approved before the start of the school year in case school buildings open in September. That would never have been possible under the old system.
You are eligible for an accommodation to work remotely if school buildings reopen if:
– you are at least age 65 as of Dec. 31, 2020; or
– you have an underlying medical condition as set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
If you are applying based on your age, you do not have to verify your age or provide any other medical documentation.
If you are applying based on your health, you must provide a signed document from a licensed medical practitioner clearly stating what your underlying medical condition(s) is, andhow it places you at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Read these step-by-step application instructions (you must be logged in to the DOE employee website to access them).
According to the legal definition under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a reasonable accommodation can only be granted to the person with the medical condition. We are still in discussions with the city and the DOE about other personal circumstances we know our members face.

The reasonable accommodation process is open to all DOE employees. The UFT strongly encourages all members who wish to have an accommodation to work remotely to apply now.

For more information on the DOE’s reasonable accommodations policy, visit the HR Connect Employee Portal (you must log in with your DOE User ID and password) and search for “COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodations.”

The DOE’s Office of Disability Accommodations and its Division of Human Resource’s Office of Medical, Leaves and Benefits will review applications. The review will be done in accordance with the 
reasonable accommodations process under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are denied an accommodation, you may reapply if you have different or additional documentation.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us at 212-331-6311. You may also email the DOE at

Stay safe and healthy.

June 9, 2020

NYSUT, AFT demand school districts follow state Department of Health guidance for reopening


Mon, Jul 20th, 2020 09:50 am
New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers have demanded school districts follow school reopening guidance issued by the governor and state Department of Health that mandates social distancing, reduced occupancy and the use of masks, among other safety measures.
The unions made the call amid reports of confusion over such requirements at the local level as districts develop their individual reopening plans.
“With the clock ticking for districts to develop and submit reopening plans, there is no time for ambiguity,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “We’ll say it again: Health and safety, as well as equity, are absolutely essential in planning for the fall. The Department of Health issued clear guidelines regarding social distancing and masks. There’s no reason districts should be guessing at what the safest option for students, staff, and the entire school community is.”
“Frankly I was shocked when I saw an interpretation of the minimum guidance on safely reopening schools that suggested that a district could choose masks or physical distancing. Working with fellow members of the governor’s Reimagine Education Advisory Council, we developed strong guidelines for how to keep our schools safe, if districts moved forward with some form of in-person instruction. And that guidance was spelled out in Gov. Cuomo’s reopening schools safely plan. It’s not an either/or; physical distancing or physical barriers are absolutely necessary in schools, as are masks. Masks are strongly recommended at all times, and absolutely are required if it is impossible to physically distance, as in hall passing,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said. “Parents need to feel confident that if they send their children back to school it is safe, just as educators need to feel equally as confident that it will be safe for them. We can’t have confusion at this stage. Districts need to get this right.”
According to the DOH guidance:
√ Districts must ensure there is proper social distancing on school grounds and in school facilities. “Specifically, appropriate social distancing means 6 feet of space in all directions between individuals or use of appropriate physical barriers between individuals that do not adversely affect airflow, heating, cooling or ventilation, or otherwise present a health or safety risk.”
√ Even with face coverings in use, occupancy of spaces, such as classrooms and other small spaces, “should not exceed 50% of the maximum capacity of the space, unless it is designed for use by a single occupant.”
√ Face coverings must be worn “any time or place that individuals cannot maintain appropriate social distancing.” Further, face coverings are “strongly recommended at all times, except for meals and instruction with appropriate social distancing. However, responsible parties can require face coverings at all times, even during instruction; and it is strongly recommended in areas with higher rates of COVID-19 community infection.”
√ Other health and safety measures must also be in place.
NYSUT and AFT “believe all of these requirements must be met and are unequivocally necessary before anyone returns to the classroom.”
“We must get this right,” Pallotta said. “We will not jeopardize the health and safety of students, educators, and families by agreeing it’s safe to go back without these requirements in place.”
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

June 9, 2020

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials