COVID-19: Yonkers Academics Federation Outlines Reopening Points

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With students prepare to return to the classroom as a school district in Westchester transitions to its hybrid learning model, some educators have expressed concern about issues they believe should be addressed before opening back up.

The Yonkers Federation of Teachers released a public letter to the city’s school district highlighting certain issues it has as it prepares to reopen buildings to students beginning on Monday, Oct. 5.

In the letter, which was signed by 17 members of the federation’s Executive Board, the educators said that “district leaders still must address a litany of outstanding concerns, ranging from incomplete ventilation and window work to a lack of clear arrival, dismissal, bathroom, lunch and cleaning protocols that are necessary to protect the safety of every student.”

Other issues brought up by the educators include inadequate access to personal protective equipment and insufficient protocols for identifying COVID-19 cases and closing buildings to go to remote instruction where cases are identified.

The Yonkers Federation of Teachers is also demanding a 14-day closure of any school building where there is a confirmed COVID-19 case.

According to the Federation, “education in the time of COVID is nothing like any of us ever imagined we would experience in our careers,” they wrote to district officials.

“We know that a strain has been placed on many families, including our own. We want more than anything to return to normal. We miss our students, and we miss the opportunities to check in academically, socially, and emotionally with them in person.”

The Federation of Teachers went on to say that these are concerns and fixes that should have been months ago if the district planned to reopen for in-person learning.

“To be sure, there are and will continue to be issues that pop up throughout this year that we will have to address together,” they said. “No matter the work ahead, we want to be unequivocally clear: not even a global pandemic could break our commitment to children. We will continue to be there for Yonkers students.”

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