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They Did Not Keep Us Safe in March; Do Not Trust Them Today!

September 8, 2020 am30 12:57 am

Andy Cuomo took way too long in March to start shutting things down. Remember him overruling de Blasio’s “shelter in place”?

But the Mayor wasn’t better. In March Bill de Blasio kept the schools open when they needed to be closed.

Chancellor Carranza heard reports of COVID-19 in buildings, and he and his cronies hushed them up, and didn’t close the buildings.

Someone, maybe everyone on the 14th floor of 52 Broadway knew we had confirmed cases in schools, and went to court to force the closures…ok…  But in the meantime allowed UFT members to walk back into those buildings.

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In May I examined their record from March, and suggested putting protection in place for September. It did not happen.

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Who is keeping you safe tomorrow?

The DoE just released ventilation reports. For each room they ask

Are there windows? Can they be opened? Supply fan? Exhaust fan? Unit ventilator?

Nothing about dampers, about air exchange, about filters. Nothing about how many windows open (well, at least one), nor how wide it opens. They don’t even differentiate between offices and classrooms.

They just want you back in school.

The UFT has provided us with a protocol for dealing with missing PPE and cleaning supplies. Good. But where is their guidance on ventilation? COVID-19 is primarily an airborne disease.

Where is their guidance on how to read the reports? The UFT’s own reports intentionally did not evaluate ventilation. Where is the written guidance on MERV13 filters? The UFT seems to imply we are safe without them. I don’t think that is true. Let’s see it in writing… With Mulgrew’s signature at the bottom. (I know, not happening).

They just want you back in school. (with random testing).

de Blasio is on a mission to open schools. He just wants you back in school.

And Cuomo? Remember Andy Cuomo? What a moment to disappear. Apparently his squabble with de Blasio doesn’t extend to the health of teachers. He is fine with you back in school.

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So who is looking out for teachers and other school staff?

No one is doing it for us – we have to look out for ourselves, and for each other.

Something is missing? Discuss it with each other. Have the Chapter Leader discuss it with the Principal. Have the Chapter Leader call the UFT hotline. No one is going to do it for you.

Something seems wrong? Discuss it with each other. Have the Chapter Leader discuss it with the Principal. Have the Chapter Leader call the UFT hotline. No one is going to do it for you.

You are being asked to go into a space that you suspect is not properly ventilated? Discuss it with each other. Have the Chapter Leader discuss it with the Principal. Have the Chapter Leader call the UFT hotline. No one is going to do it for you.

We wear masks to protect other.

We point out unsafe conditions to protect each other.

We shut down unsafe spaces to protect each other.

Who is looking out for teachers and staff?

Ourselves alone!

 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Maryellen Ambrosio permalink
    September 8, 2020 am30 7:30 am 7:30 am

    How crazy I’m taking a train to school 30 plus min for a 10 min drive to go into a classroom alone to teach remotely ALONE! WTF this is truly BIZARRO WORKD!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. anonymous permalink
    September 8, 2020 pm30 7:34 pm 7:34 pm

    I am a chapter leader. I would like to do the things you mention. But how am I supposed to know what qualifies as adequate ventilation? I don’t trust the DOE, but I’m also not an expert. We have windows that open in all our classrooms. Is that enough? Who knows?

  3. September 9, 2020 am30 7:52 am 7:52 am

    So I am not a mechanical engineer or an HVAC specialist. But I spoke with one yesterday.

    In my building, during A/C season, I have been assured that exterior rooms with openable windows that allow airflow are ok. The expert spoke about “air exchanges per hour” which is going to be important, I think… we want new outside air coming in. (which is why we will face a new challenge as it gets colder – open windows in freezing temperatures)

    I would be concerned about a classroom with non-opening windows, or windows that only slightly open and do not allow the air in the room to “move” – leave the door open – if you don’t sense a flow, call in an expert to decide.

    I did not get good advice on interior rooms/offices. We have four such spaces in my school. I urged the principal to shut one that clearly had no air coming in. He notified staff that they should keep time in that space to an absolute minimum, stay masked, etc. For the other three we need outside expertise to decide. In the meantime principal has alerted staff in those spaces that there is a question mark, and that they may work elsewhere… I would have liked a stronger statement… I agree that it is more likely than not that the ventilation is adequate, but my question mark is still substantial. I will speak to staff members individually. In any case, few were in yesterday, and few will be in today in either case.

    It is relatively easy to vacate a small number of offices. I would go the hotline route if the questions involved a significant number of classrooms.

    I have a friend whose building, in other years, some teachers think it makes them sick. There was a UFT site visit yesterday – not sure what the follow up will be. But they were right to get the UFT inside.

    I’m sorry I cannot be more specific. There’s judgment involved. But if you are uneasy, err on the side of health and safety.

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