nydailynews.com nydailynews.com 28 Dec, 2020 10:30 am

In schools, safety matters most: The teachers union president lays out his COVID priorities

In schools, safety matters most: The teachers union president lays out his COVID priorities
The arrival of vaccines against the coronavirus is the news we have been waiting for — the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. But we can’t let that good news lead the city to abandon a careful approach to getting and keeping our schools open.

But we can’t let that good news lead the city to abandon a careful approach to getting and keeping our schools open.New York can’t let its success in re-opening its schools be undermined by trying to open more schools beyond the city’s realistic testing capacity, or by keeping schools open in the face of a significant increase in community infections.So I say to those hoping to open schools at all grade levels all across the city: We need to go slow.New York City’s virus testing capacity far exceeds that of any other jurisdiction, but it is already spread thin over more than 800 buildings and other program sites.

New York City — the only major urban center in the United States to reopen its public schools — has successfully done so because of its cautious approach and rigorous standards.The standards under which schools reopened this fall included the guaranteed presence of enough masks and face shields, improved ventilation, rigorous cleaning and classes small enough to ensure social distancing — and the most extensive virus testing regimen in the country.

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