The Buffalo Teachers Federation Supports District-Wide COVID-19 Testing & Notification Procedures - Following A Negative Court Ruling, Union Also Raises Concerns Relating To Student & Staff Infection
(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) - While supporting the Buffalo School District’s decision to test students and Staff for COVID-19, the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF) is raising concerns relating to the number of students and Staff who were infected between February 3rd, 2021 to February 10th, 2021 - as well as alerting the District to additional safety concerns.
The correspondence from BTF President Philip Rumore cited the following concerns: From February 3rd, 2021 to February 10th, 2021- 22 students and 12 Staff have been identified as testing positive; There were four cases of students and one Staff Person identified in just two days at City Honors School.
That the BTF continues to receive reports of: Filthy water in sinks; Temperature scanners providing inaccurate readings (at multiple schools); Filthy bathrooms, floors, etc.; Students not wearing masks, with no consequences; Lack of hot water; and at one school, a student tested positive, was sent home and that student’s class returned to school the next day.
Rumore pointed out that while testing is important, “since the virus’s incubation period, during which time in some cases it can be transmitted, can be (14) days from exposure to symptom onset, it is critical that we ensure that the sanitization, air circulation, physical distancing, PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) supplies, safety protocols, etc., not only provide for the prevention of the spread by those identified with COVID-19, but also to prevent its spread by pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers.”
The correspondence concluded: “We, as do you, will continue to work to ensure that our schools are and remain safe and that even one case of COVID-19 in the schools is too many.”
In response to a recent court decision not to grant the BTF’s request for an injunction to prevent the in-person reopening of schools until an impartial arbitrator could rule on its grievance relating to the safety of schools, the BTF said: While we are disappointed, we are not surprised. We look forward to presenting more evidence at the conference Judge Emilio Colaiacovo has ordered on March 9th, 2021. Obviously, as a result of our court action, the District has implemented some of the safety measures we have sought. There are, however, many more needed. The public should remember that the District has refused to allow the schools to be inspected by an independent hygienist that we would reimburse. What do they have to hide?
“Every Teacher I have talked with wants to be back with their students in person. However, they want to ensure that the return is safe for students, parents, Staff and community,” Rumore said.