Amid Coronavirus Worries & Preparedness, NYSUT Urges Unions, Local Officials & School Administrators To Maintain An ‘Open Dialogue’ About Health, Safety & Education
(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - As school districts grapple with the effects of Coronavirus statewide, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Union is urging local officials to ensure the needs of students, Staff and families are fairly and adequately met in the event of a school closure.
“Amid this public health crisis, ‘we all have a role to play in helping to stem the spread’ of coronavirus ‘and in ensuring that every child is fully supported in the event of school closures,”’ NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “It is ‘critical’ that school administrators and Educators ‘are in constant communication about the right ways to keep the school community safe and healthy’ as we carry out our mission: educating New York’s children.”
NYSUT believes it is important that such communication is happening on a district-by-district basis, so each school’s unique needs can be met.
Those local conversations should touch not only on health and safety, but also on how critical services - ranging from free breakfast and lunch programs to childcare to mental health services - would continue to be provided for students if a school closure is necessary.
At the state level, NYSUT has expressed concerns to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) regarding the use of on-line learning in particular in the event of a school closure, especially for young children and in areas where students may not have access to the technology or internet connection needed to take classes on-line.
Concerns also include whether school districts have the proper infrastructure to provide on-line learning.
Alternatives could include printed lessons, such as textbook reading and worksheets.
Parents and guardians also are encouraged to take time to do educational activities with their children, similar to what the Union suggests for students during Summer vacation.
NYSUT will remain in contact with the NYSED to ensure any statewide guidance is developed with this digital divide in mind.
“As schools take steps to keep students and adults ‘healthy’ - which is the ‘top’ priority – ‘equity must be at the forefront when coming up with education plans,’” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said. “While on-line learning ‘may work for some’ students, ‘many students will be left behind because they don’t have access to the right software or internet connections.’ Administrators ‘must include’ Educators ‘in conversations about what practices could work best in their district.’”
To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: www.nysut.org/news/2020/march/media-release-coronavirus