Statement by UFT (Teacher’s Union) President Michael Mulgrew, who will be holding a press conference ahead of Mayor’s briefing on the latest on coronavirus:
“We recommend that New York City follow the example of affected jurisdictions around the region, the nation and even the world in closing our public schools.
We don’t suggest this lightly. We understand the immense disruption this will create for our families. But right now more than a million students and staff crisscross the city every day on their way to schools, putting themselves and others at risk of exposure and increasing the likelihood of bringing exposure into their homes and communities.
Many local area schools, religious and public, have already closed, as have schools in the entire states of Michigan, Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky. The schools of entire countries have been closed to help contain the spread of the virus.
We must find ways to keep our children safe, and to see that they are fed. We must do all we can to help ensure that our students can continue to learn. But we have reached the point where continuing to keep our classrooms open poses a greater lasting threat than the disruption that will result from school closings.”
Speaker Corey Johnson issues statement:
“It is time to close our public schools for the safety and well-being of the students, teachers, and staff.
This is not an easy decision, but we must take aggressive measures to stop the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19. Teaching and learning cannot take place under these circumstances.
The City must immediately come up with a plan that includes childcare relief for families who need it so that our essential workers, especially healthcare workers, can continue with their duties. We must also ensure meals and medical care are provided for students who rely on schools for these crucial services.
I have repeatedly said it is not time to panic. But it is time to act. We must take bold, decisive measures to do everything we can to limit the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19. ”
Chair of the City’s Education Committee Mark Treyger has been advocating for implementing contingency measures.