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Group to hold protest outside UFT headquarters to emphasize the threat COVID-19 poses in classrooms

AMNY 1/10/2022 Isabel Song Beer
© Provided by AMNY MORE-UFT, a United Federation of Teachers (UFT) oppositional caucus plans to hold a protest on Jan. 10 outside UFT headquarters in protest of what they believe to be extremely dangerous COVID-19 related in-classroom learning conditions. Many of New York City’s public school educators and faculty are extremely unsatisfied with how the current COVID-19 spread in schools is being handled by NYC Mayor Adams and are planning a rally to express and gain the attention of government and UFT officials by illuminating the dangers they feel they and their students are experiencing in classrooms. The newly elected NYC Mayor Adams told “Face the Nation” [1]on Sunday that virtual instruction was extremely disruptive for New York families, and reiterated that he believes schools to be safer for children than their homes. "I believe we're doing the right thing for our children, having them in the safest place, and that is in the school building," Adams said. “I know we have to look at a different way of living with COVID each time a new variant comes out and one area is education.” However, many educators disagree with Adams’ statement, disputing the fact that schools are safe for children during the pandemic. According to an email statement from MORE-UFT, an oppositional caucus within the UFT, public educators have reached a “breaking point”. “Despite Mayor Adam’s claim that schools will not be closed, attendance rates due to the spread of COVID have forced students into quarantine and schools into a state of chaos without support or resources,” said MORE-UFT in their statement. “Schools are unsafe sources of spread to our youngest unvaccinated, untested and immunocompromised students.” According to MORE-UFT, research from as recently as Sunday indicates New York City’s 7-day COVID positivity rate is 31.13% [2], additionally 1 in 5 staff and 1 in 14 students have tested positive for COVID since September 13, 2021.  “There have been more than 10,000 positive [3] test results for each of the 5 school days last week.” said MORE-UFT in their statement. “Yet, the total number of tests administered at schools was never higher than 13,220 on any given day. With 1,022,237 students and school staff (including educators), this means that medical teams administered PCR tests to no more than about 1.3% of enrolled students and school staff on payroll on any given day.” Another UFT oppositional caucus, United for Change, echoed these statements and emphasized the need to return back to virtual learning at least until NYC gets a better handle on the Omicron variant surge. “By not testing everyone, how can you have an accurate number of transmissions?” said Luli Rodríguez, an educator from East Harlem and member of United for Change, on Jan. 4. “Honestly, I think that immunocompromised families should have their remote homeschooling option until further notice.” In a press conference on Dec. 28, before he took office, Mayor Adams claimed that public school COVID positivity rates were “less than 1 percent,” however both United for Change and MORE-UFT dispute this claim.  “[The] NYCDOE [4] cited a district-wide absentee rate of about 55.5% on Friday, Jan,. 7,” said MORE-UFT in their statement. “We are speaking out against the 1% Covid spread rate that is based on last year when there was a remote option and before Omicron hit our city.” The MORE-UFT rally is scheduled to begin at 5 pm on Jan. 10 outside the UFT Headquarters at 52 Broadway, NYC [5].  [1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-new-york-mayor-eric-adams-face-the-nation-01-09-2022/ [2] https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page [3] http://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/districtData;bedsCodeId=300000 [4] https://www.nycenet.edu/PublicApps/Attendance.aspx [5] https://www.google.com/maps/search/52+Broadway,+NYC?entry=gmail&source=g
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