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