ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Monroe County Federation of Teachers is calling for a delay in reopening schools for in-person learning “until it can be ensured that all safety concerns are appropriately addressed.”
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that New York state’s school districts could reopen if their proposals had been approved. The MCFT responded Monday, saying in-person instruction should be put on hold for the time being.
“We need to take our time and do this right,” said Andrew Jordan, Co-president of the Monroe I BOCES United Professionals, in a press release. “The stakes are too high to rush back to school before the safety of students and staff can be ensured when we have the option of providing remote instruction to students.”
“The school community should have access to rapid and reliable testing if we’re going to proceed with opening schools which will be mass gathering places, said Brian Ebertz, President of the Greece Teachers Association, in a press release. “We’re asking the County Department of Health to make testing available to all educators.”
MCFT — which is made up of representatives from more than 20 K-12 school districts serving Monroe County children and families — says districts should postpone at school and in-person instruction, and that remote instruction be improved with better access to technology, virtual-based learning, guided independent study, and other proven, effective strategies for remote learning.
The group says that “at-school and in-person learning resume only when it is safe to do so without jeopardizing the safety, health, and lives of our students, their families and their educators.”
MCFT is also calling on state and local officials to make rapid COVID testing available to all those working in a public education setting at easily accessible times and locations. The federation of teachers want bi-weekly, rapid testing available for everyone working in public education to be made available by the Monroe County Department of Public Health, requesting that the testing be made available at times and locations “easily accessible to Monroe County Educators, including weekends.”
The group says that this regular testing should continue to be made available until the pandemic is declared over.