Yonkers Public School District Delayed in Mitigating Health and Safety Concerns
By YFT President SAMANTHA ROSADO-CIRIELLO

eHezi Community, Education, Governance, Health, History, Law, New York State, People, Political Analysis, Politics, Yonkers, NY 48 Comments

Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT) President Samantha Rosado-Ciriello

Yonkers Federation of Teachers.

YONKERS, NY — August 26, 2020 — On Thursday, August 20 YFT Leadership began building walk-throughs.  We visited PEARLS, Montessori 27, Hostos, Cesar Chavez, Scholastic Academy, Fermi, School 23, and Yonkers Middle High School.

What we found (this is not an exhaustive list): Thermometer kiosks have not arrived, attempts were made to arrange student and teacher desks, but most classrooms could not accommodate 15 students while maintaining 6ft. distancing, most schools do not have an isolation room that is separate from the nurse’s office, most windows opened and some did not, signs were posted throughout most areas in the buildings, most buildings are working to put tape on the floors as 6ft markers throughout the halls, but they are not completed, partitions have not been placed between bathroom sinks or urinals, classrooms still have tables that have not been replaced with desks, each classroom had one hand sanitizer pump and one container of wipes, mounted sanitizers were not present throughout buildings in common areas, all water fountains had been shut off, but water bottles have not yet been sent to the buildings for teachers – they promised they will arrive by 9/1, in at least one building asbestos abatement was occurring, but the area was not sectioned off (the district assures it will be sectioned off before teachers arrive on 9/1), in some buildings makeshift partitions are being constructed out of wood and paper type material to compensate for the lack of an isolation room (not acceptable).  We will send a checklist to every member we have an email for and we are requesting that you complete it and indicate your building.  If you see an infraction, please specify the room number or area.  Your name will remain confidential.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations:

It seems every person has been denied without a meeting.  We are contacting our attorneys.

Remote Learning:

The YFT received the remote learning plan at 9pm on 8/17 and saw it on 8/18.  The district and the YFT engaged in conversations with the Board on 8/19 and 8/20. While the district has submitted a remote learning plan to the Governor on Friday, the working conditions must be negotiated.  Negotiations began on 8/25 and will resume on 8/28.

Reopening Plans:

The Board and the YFT have agreed to continue negotiations regarding other aspects of the plan throughout the month of September.

Budget:

While we lobbied hard for Congress to pass the HEROES Act, they went on vacation again without doing so.  As a result, Governor Cuomo has cut the education budget by an additional 20%, including Universal PreK.  The superintendent has announced he will be closing 8 PreK classes, which would require additional layoffs of 8 elementary education teachers.  It is anticipated that the BOE Trustees will vote on it during tonight’s emergency BOE Meeting.  It is such an injustice, especially less than one week before school starts for staff!  We will continue to lobby for funding.

eHeziYonkers Public School District Delayed in Mitigating Health and Safety Concerns
By YFT President SAMANTHA ROSADO-CIRIELLO

Comments 48

    1. As a matter of fact, when teaching online we should earn more money because we are on call 24/7 answering questions, guiding students and parents on the assignments , helping with technology and so on…We cannot leave those answers to the next weekday because they need the answers to keep working on the lessons. We no longer have weekends free as well. Before criticizing and trashing the teachers you should be fully aware what is involved in being a teacher, specially in Yonkers. Most teacher went and go above and beyond to help their students. The online teaching is harder and require way more work than in person, however, during this pandemic, we are trying to save everybody’s health and life. Teachers and everybody that works in a school are on the most vulnerable side.

  1. In every profession there are people who do their jobs and people who don’t, people who go above and beyond and people who do the bare minimum. However, the comments in this article are disgraceful! Those who are not educators and have not spent time in classrooms have no right to make these kind of accusations! The majority of teachers spend countless hours before and after the school day grading papers, making phone calls, prepping, etc. Most people have no idea the amount of time and effort it takes good teachers to do their jobs! They want to do it in a safe environment, which is by no means unreasonable! A safe environment for teachers also makes a safe environment for students! Many buildings had poor ventilation and extremely high temperatures in warmer months before the pandemic, which will now only be made worse! For those complaining about teachers going out to dinner or on vacation, they can control what they do, but not the actions of countless others including the hundreds of students and staff in the hallways in close quarters! For those complaining, put yourself in the teachers’ shoes for just one minute. Think about an infected teacher or child bringing the virus home to a compromised family member. What if it is one of your own?! Bottom line, most teachers are not being lazy, most teachers actually WANT to return to a SAFE work environment for themselves and their students. Most teachers care about their students and that is why they became teachers in the first place!

    1. Think about what you just said-if your not an educator then you have no right criticizing educator’s-that comment is so far from the truth.

    2. Teachers have weekends and summers off !
      Stop complaining
      Half the Yonkers students who graduate can’t even write an essay
      You push the students through like sheep

  2. In every profession there are people who do their jobs and people who don’t, people who go above and beyond and people who do the bare minimum. However, the comments in this article are disgraceful! Those who are not educators and have not spent time in classrooms have no right to make these kind of accussations! The majority of teachers spend countless hours before and after the school grading papers, making phone calls, prepping, etc. Most people have no idea the amount of time and effort it takes good teachers to do their jobs! They want to do it in a safe environment, which is by no means unreasonable! A safe environment for teachers also makes a safe environment for students! Many buildings had poor ventilation and extremely high temperatures in warmer months before the pandemic, which will now only be made worse! For those complaining about teachers going out to dinner or on vacation, they can control what they do, but not the actions of countless others including the hundreds of students and staff in the hallways in close quarters! For those complaining, put yourself in the teachers shoes for just one minute. Think about an infected teacher or child bringing the virus home to a compromised family member. What if it is one of your own?! Bottom line, most teachers are not being lazy, most teachers actually WANT to return to a SAFE work environment for themselves and their students. Most teachers care about their students and that is why they became teachers in the first place!

  3. To the delusional parents that think we teach our five periods and call it a day, I say this: I understand your frustrations, but you have no right to make your accusations until you’ve walked a day in a teacher’s shoes. You say you’re “teaching” your three or four kids at home, when in fact it’s homework help. We teach 30 – 150 children, some even more at the secondary level, and to those 150+ children our time with them does not end when that bell rings to end the class. We give up our lunch periods, we stay after school, we help them with their academics, we help them with social and emotional issues, we help them make friends, we make sure they are eating lunch, we teach them good manners and respect and comradeship, we guide them in making good choices, we help them to become independent, we listen to what they have to say whenever they have something to say, we establish structure, we make them laugh and we comfort them when they cry. We encourage them to be their best. And most of all, we keep them safe. We do all of this because we care. We do our absolute best with what we are given and what we don’t have, we seek it out on our own. So SHAME ON YOU for claiming that we don’t do our jobs and we don’t deserve our salaries. Remote learning has taken a toll on teachers both physically and emotionally too. Our days were not 3 1/2 hours long. We spent countless hours finding resources, planning, converting our lessons into online platforms, responding to emails from both parents and students at all hours of day and night, providing individual help to students whenever needed, making phone calls and sending emails to find our students that stopped submitting work, meeting as a team with teachers and administrators on a regular basis. I remember many late nights sitting at my dining room table answering emails and then trying to figure out and find what I was going to present the next day to my students, and coming to tears because no matter how hard I tried and how many hours I put into my job I still could not get ahead. And during all that time, as a single parent, having to run my own household and take care of my own children. So again, I say SHAME ON YOU for thinking that remote learning was a cakewalk for us teachers. And remember, every time you point a finger, three fingers point right back at you. If you’re upset with what is going on, then do something about it besides blame teachers. When was the last time YOU went to Albany to lobby for funding? When was the last time YOU attended a board meeting to make your demands? When was the last time YOU founded an organization or gave up YOUR free time for something to better your school? We are deeply hurt by your remarks. But the fact of the matter is, we don’t work for you, we work for your children. And that is why we will show up every day and continue to do our job as educators – Yonkers teachers for Yonkers kids!

  4. And just like the “working conditions “ and “old buildings” are in the forefront of YFT narrative so that teachers can stay home. The same teachers that I’ve seen out in gatherings, parks, beaches, parties, or vacations. Some not wearing a mask because you know, they don’t like the government telling them what to do. Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with them doing as such. But don’t act like being exposed to our children is the problem!!!

    I hope when the time comes to negotiate on wages YFT will be generous and not take the increase so that our children can be in safer buildings. It’s no secret that teachers’ salaries suck up most of YPS funding.

    Lastly, CSEA we got screwed! Leadership should have advocated for us and not let YFT speak for us. Bus monitors and bus bribers are now out of a job!

    1. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out
      There are many qualified teachers looking for employment
      If you don’t like Yonkers , quit and leave.

  5. As an outside observer, yet as someone keenly interested in the YPS District, my assessment is as follows:
    1) The District should have communicated with the YFT from the beginning regarding working conditions. To include them 2 weeks prior to school opening is the height of arrogant incompetence.
    2) Slipshod, incomplete, and half-hearted preparations of classrooms, ventilation systems, cleaning processes, and spacing protocols will result in sickness, suffering, and death.
    3) For parents or any other group complaining that teachers should have no say to as to the safety of working conditions, you should be ashamed. Deeply ashamed.
    This is a failure by the District and the Yonkers BOE. To characterize it as anything other than a complete failure would be dishonest.

  6. Wow you obviously have no clue what it is to work with 30 children who tend to sneeze, cough and vomit on you. Yes they vomit on you. Before you judge us why not try being in a classroom for a day and see how many germs are spread. As far as remote instruction I can only speak for myself but I was online with my children through video, checking work and interacting from 7:15 every morning until after 5 o’clock every night and answering text messages and phone calls past 11 PM every night. So stop judging unless you have the facts.

    1. Me too. I was feeling as if I were a doctor, on call 24/7 with no weekends. I was answering messages from parents and students at 11pm. It is a total lack of respect to our work, professionalism, and dedication to even imply we did no do our job. We teachers worked MORE THAN EVER to help and support our students and parents.

      1. Who is kidding who? the educational bar has been drastically lowered and graduation requirements have been dramatically eased in the COY.

    2. Are you expecting to have a no show job ? If you taught your kids properly they would know to cover there mouths when they sneeze. It’s a job , you should have picked another career , stop whining and get back to work.

      1. The last time I checked, proper etiquette when coughing or sneezing is taught AT HOME, beginning even before a child enters school.

        And therein lies the problem….

        1. But that means parents would have to be responsible for their children. That is a totally unacceptable concept today. Bigger government is where it’s at. Vote us in and we will do everything for you. Trust us!!!

      2. Why should a teacher have to teach a child how to sneeze properly that is something that should be taught at home not at school. We already have to be teachers, nurses, mediators, guidance counselors, psychologists and social workers. How dare you even think that we should have to teach them the proper way to sneeze. Parents have to be accountable for proper manners.

  7. Attention trolls posing as parents: You wouldn’t last a day in a Yonkers classroom. Crawl back under your rocks. Truth is, teachers are the only thing standing between your child and an unsafe, potentially deadly building. I spend an average $400 a year out of my own pocket to supply my classroom and my poorest students. I spend hours each night and weekend correcting assignments and planning lessons. The district won’t have the internet or tech capacity to do half of what it’s claiming and promising. Schools aren’t restaurants or Costco. I don’t go to Shoprite and handle supplies, manipulatives and wipe the noses of 25 children. I’m in and out, and everyone is wearing a mask and standing six feet apart, and the stores are properly ventilated. Get a clue and don’t write comments unless you know what the hell you’re taking about. Your willful ignorance is why America can’t have nice things.

  8. What a bunch of phony parents on this thread. Trolls typing from mom’s basement is more like it. Every single demand by city teachers not only protects them, but also the children.

  9. YPS teacher here. The children are just as much at “work” as we are. So those “work conditions” that we speak of are for the benefit of your children and mine. My children attend YPS schools. Not one of the the ones mentioned or 15, 8 or Pulaski!! And as we know even those schools aren’t always well ventilated or have the proper spacing.

    We are returning to the buildings on 9/1 to work in the schools and while we work on lessons, both synchronous and asynchronous (just like in real life) we are going to make sure that your kids and some of ours return to SAFE AND WELL VENTILATED classrooms.

    BTW many of my colleagues have already returned to our buildings to ensure the rooms are ready if and when our children return. Thank you

  10. While the teacher’s continually fail the students ( this March thru June ) was especially woeful as most teachers literally “cut and pasted” a few assignments, little or no response to questions from parents. TBF a select few did actually try. A select few were MIA. Meanwhile the BOE was MIA practically to a man. No response to calls /emails but occasionally they would post a few delusional statements on their site. Now their collective house of cards is being exposed for a sham the both organizations are. Pls send in the feds. Yonkers – where it’s all hills and nothing is on the level

    1. Teachers DID NOT fail the students. We teachers worked more than ever during this pandemic. Most of us worked 24/7 . We didn’t even have a whole weekend free. Students and parents were calling and sending msgs late at night disregarding our office hours, however I never left the answer or the help they needed to the next day. “Don’t paint all teachers with the same brush” just because maybe you had a bad experience with one or with the district.

      Now, it is not the teachers that are failing the students. We are fighting for our lives, for the students well being and for YOURS as well. The district is failing the students, teachers, staff and the whole community by not offering a safe working and learning place, and by lying about it.

  11. Some of the parents that are making ride and negative comments are probably the same ones that give their children Motrin in the morning And send them to school sick to infect others. Those are facts. Same parents who don’t come and pick up their sick children and force them to take the bus home and infect everyone on the bus .

  12. Does anyone truly believe the district that the buildings are safe? Yonkers has been underfunded for decades. They’re still laying people off. And the only comments a few people have to make are the old attacks of lazy teachers. Thank God for the teachers speaking out. I sure as hell trust the teachers more than the district. My child will be learning from home.

    1. Yonkers teachers don’t suck! At least not all. There are some amazing teachers within the district.

      However, their union aka leadership does. Samantha has lots of demands but is not willing to give a little back. Yonkers teachers are very well paid.

      1. Most Yonkers teachers live in Yorktown, Croton, and upper Westchester County. The policemen, firemen, and big shots in our heirechy here in Yonkers enjoy their white neighborhoods. You are all living your lives with our Yonkers tax dollars. Shame on you you that abuse this city. We are Yonkers proud! We believe in Yonkers! We will vote all of you sinister politicians out. BLM!

  13. I suggest that the teachers go back and read the book for children ” The Little Engine that Could”.
    Remember that Can -Do Attitude that keeps chugging along.

    1. I guess you want your kids to chug along in unsafe conditions. Your kids will return to school. The district needs time to make it safe for all.

  14. I’m going to keep this list handy for when it’s time to renew contracts and go into collective bargaining. Since you are so concern with providing teachers (not students cause you don’t give a shit about them) a near perfect working environment perhaps you’re ready to give a little back and not ask for a wage increase on teachers salaries. Your greed and ego is hurting our children’s eduction.

    1. Maybe you missed the memo that these items the teachers are requesting are to also keep the STUDENTS of Yonkers safe, as well as their relatives at home who could be elderly or immune compromised.

    2. And the district, right from the beginning, is considering only parents and students, as if we had no voice. The leadership strategy used is “me vs you”, which is a bad one. We teachers, staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and so on are being treated by the district as expendable. We agree that online teaching is not the best option, however in this pandemic WE ARE TALKING ABOUT EVERYBODY’S HEALTH AND LIFE. At least for once the Adms should leave numbers and money aside. Our job, professionalism and dedication are being totally disrespected. It is your word that we don’t care about our student, but it is evident the district does not care about everybody’s safety, health and life. What matters the most is fulfilling the numbers required by the State which can be translated into money. And, by caring, it seems that we teachers are being threatened🤔🤔🤔

    3. This comment is just insulting and disrespectful. We do care about our students and about everybody’s health and life. That is why we are fighting. On the contrary, the YPS District is fighting to please the State disregarding the nature of this pandemic (Yonkers has the highest numbers in Westchester), the possible health impairment, and lives that can be lost. On top of this, whoever wrote this comment is threatening the Teachers.

    4. In the whole country schools are opening and are closing, universities are opening and are closing due to the coronavirus. Yonkers has the most coronavirus cases in Westchester. What does that tell you?? It is ours and everybody’s health and lives that are at stake. We ARE NOT EXPENDABLE. If you want us to go back to the classroom, provide us a safe working condition. Do not threaten us because we are fighting for ours and for our family’s helth and life.

  15. If classes are broken into 2 cohorts and about 20% of the children will solely learn from home anyway, that’s only about 12 kids to teach on Mon/Tues and another 12 on Thurs/Fri.
    If, in the last 6 months, no one has come up with a safe plan to teach a dozen kids at a time, everyone should be mailing back in their salary.
    At what metric will the schools open then? 6 fatalities in the last month in the entire County, most of whom were older or compromised. Maybe when the vaccine come out and no one trusts it enough to take it.
    Stop with the games, it’s all at home til January. What will change in a month that hasn’t been thought of in the last 6 months?

  16. If you are too afraid to come to work, then quit and let someone who is willing to do it have your job. Now, I will have to stay home and do YOUR job and teach my kids, and then in turn, I will lose MY job because I don’t have the luxury of saying, “I’m not coming to work because I am too afraid”.

  17. Did anybody actually believe that the teachers would come back? And, does anyone believe for one second that their list of demands will be met by October? As the parent of a public school child, I fully expect that she will be at home for the next several months at least. “It’s all about the children!” Please spare me the BS.

  18. Samantha, your members have no problem dining out going on vacations
    but are afraid to do the job they are supposed to do.
    Instead of focusing on how to teach our kids who have been stuck home for 8 months your worried about thermostats and windows
    Gimme a break
    Yonkers teachers are lazy and overpaid.

    Our children need to be educated

    1. Children will be educated. The gap they may have, due to the pandemic, can be recovered, however lost lives can never be recovered.

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