AFTER FOUR CONFIRMED COVID CASES IN HUNTER CAMPUS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL THIS WEEK, SCHOOL REFUSES TO IMPLEMENT TIGHTER SAFETY PROTOCOLS DEMANDED BY UNION
Online Press Conference, Sunday, October 18, 2PM
Teachers at the Hunter College Campus Schools, who were hours away from striking over COVID safety three weeks ago (NY Times), are demanding tighter protocols after two Kindergarten teachers and two students in separate classroom pods have tested positive for the coronavirus. Department of Education schools with linked cases in two separate classrooms would be required to close during an investigation of the transmission. The Hunter Schools are public schools run by CUNY’s Hunter College instead of the DOE, and so are not legally bound by the DOE safety standards for COVID. Union pressure and a court ruling has forced CUNY to allow independent inspections of building safety, HEPA filtration and other changes to the school’s safety measures, but more are needed.
The teachers, who do not feel safe returning to in-person teaching Monday, will hold a press conference with their union to outline their demands to implement additional safety protocols. At a meeting with the union Saturday morning, Hunter Schools Director Lisa Siegmann refused to admit that transmission was occurring within the school and that changed safety protocols were needed.
The teachers want true separation of pods of students. Under the current plan, teachers and specialists are exposed to multiple classrooms full of students, a situation that creates a transmission path for the virus. Elementary students mix at recess and during transitions, creating another. The teachers also need enhanced PPE, implementation of the random testing agreement, and a series of other improvements and clarifications to the school’s COVID safety protocols.
What: Press conference to demand tighter COVID safety protocols at Hunter College Campus Schools
When: Sunday, October 18, 2PM
Where: Online--RSVP here for this Zoom press conference
- Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress
- Tina Moore, Hunter College Campus Schools, PSC Chapter Chair
- Prof. Jean Grassman, PSC Health and Safety Watchdogs/CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
- Lia Albuquerque, Hunter College Elementary School, Assistant Kindergarten Teacher
- Lacey Vargas, Parent of Hunter College Elementary School Kindergarten Student