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UFT fact sheet on school opening agreement

Press Releases

Under the terms of the agreement, all New York City public school buildings will remain closed to students until Sept. 21, while final safety arrangements are completed, including the assignment of a school nurse to every building, ventilation checks and the presence of sufficient protective and cleaning supplies.

The decision on whether to reopen a building to students will be based on the UFT 50-item safety checklist, including social distancing of student desks, the availability of masks and face shields, and a room-by-room review of ventilation effectiveness.

Buildings or rooms that do not meet safety standards will remain closed.

Teachers will report to schools on Sept. 8. They will work with their colleagues to plan and develop strategies for the blended remote/in-person instruction that will be the learning method for the overwhelming majority of the city’s public school students.

Once in-person learning has begun, the DOE will establish a mandatory, robust system of repeated random COVID testing of adults and students.

A blind representative sample, comprised of 10% to 20% of all students and adults from every NYC DOE school, will be selected each month for COVID-19 testing, with results available within 48 hours. All random COVID monitoring test will be free of charge to participants.

Parents will be informed that, as testing is performed throughout the year, if parental/guardian consent has not been obtained for a student who has been selected randomly for testing, the student will be moved to the remote learning cohort.

Any staff who elect not to participate will placed on unpaid leave.

Students or staff found to have the virus, even in the absence of symptoms, will be quarantined for 14 days. City tracing teams will be dispatched to school immediately to determine potential contacts.

The presence of a COVID-19 case or cases confined to one class will result in the entire class moving to remote instruction; more than one case in a school will mean that the entire school will move to remote instruction until the contact tracing is completed.

Schools will need to switch to 100 percent remote instruction if the percentage of positive tests in New York City are equal to or more than 3% using a seven-day rolling average; however, even if the overall case rates across New York City were to remain low, all school buildings could be closed if there were recurrent, uncontrolled outbreaks in schools of COVID-19.

Any New York City zip code that reports a percentage of positive tests of 3% or higher using a seven-day rolling average will be saturated with additional testing and tracing including, but not limited to, increased testing of individuals in schools, opening new testing sites, door-to-door canvassing and targeted robocalls for at least a 14-day period or until such time as the seven-day rolling average for positive tests is below 3%, whichever period is longer.

All terms in this agreement will be incorporated in an amendment to the city’s re-opening schools plan submitted to the state.

The agreement will be presented today to the union's Executive Board and Delegate Assembly.