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Buffalo Teachers ‘Overwhelmingly Reject’ Public Schools’ Reopening Plans, Union Calls Them “Unsafe,” Will Pursue Legal Action, As Well As The Requirement Teachers Report To Schools/Sites ‘During 100% Virtual Instruction’

Published Monday, August 31, 2020
by BTF News
Buffalo Teachers ‘Overwhelmingly Reject’ Public Schools’ Reopening Plans, Union Calls Them “Unsafe,” Will Pursue Legal Action, As Well As The Requirement Teachers Report To Schools/Sites ‘During 100% Virtual Instruction’

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF)-represented Educators have overwhelmingly rejected the Public School District’s Reopening Plans, calling them “unsafe” and directing their Union to pursue legal action against the plans - as well as a requirement that Teachers report to schools/sites during 100% offered virtual instruction.

Buffalo Teachers’ responded as such to the following questions to the following questions:

In Opposition: 70% (1,866) - I oppose the District's Reopening Plan(s) as I believe they do not provide for "safe and healthful conditions under which to carry out their (our) professional duties" and/or do not provide for "quality education for students.”  In addition, I believe they do not conform to State and Federal laws/regulations.  As such, I authorize the BTF to pursue legal action to prevent their implementation.

In Support: 30% (789) - I support the District's Reopening Plan(s) as I believe, they provide for "safe and healthful conditions under which to carry out their (our) professional duties" and provide for "quality education for students.”  In addition, I believe they conform to State and Federal laws/regulations.  As such, I do not authorize the BTF to pursue legal action to prevent their implementation.

BTF President Phil Rumore released the following statement:

“Buffalo Teachers, who overwhelmingly want to be with their students when schools open for in-person instruction, want to ensure that students, parents, School Staff and the community are not put at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.  The District has not met the required State and Federal Guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of our students, parents, Teachers and community.  Yet, although instruction is 100% virtual, it is mandating all Teachers to report to their schools/sites two to three times a week -thereby, endangering their, their families and the community’s health.  We cannot allow unsafe teaching and learning conditions to endanger the safety and health of our students, parents, Teachers and community - therefore, we will immediately pursue legal action.  If a school/site can demonstrate that it meets all the safety requirements and has appropriate safety protocols in place, we are willing to enter into an agreement that would allow Teachers to voluntarily teach from their classroom.  As always, any such agreement would have to be approved by Teachers.  The District has shown no willingness to answer, in writing, the Teachers’ many questions that were sent to it.  We will continue to work to ensure that our schools have safety protocols in writing in place, to ensure that our students, parents, School Staff and community are not put at risk of infection by the COVID-19 virus.”

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