The Yonkers Federation of Teaches v Yonkers Board of Education Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — November 14, 2020 — The Yonkers Newswire was first to divulge that some Yonkers Public School teachers have engaged in conduct that undermines the school district’s capacity to function. Assertions that some teachers have concocted scenarios in which they claim that they came in contact with a student or fellow teacher who was infected by COVID-19 is the ploy to which remedy has yet to be found. The Yonkers Public School (YPS) District and the Yonkers Federation of Teachers union have yet to devise and agree upon and conform to best practice to thwart additional people from becoming infected.
When an incident or incidences of infection become known, the YPS District’s response is to engage a tracing protocol of all those who may have come in contact with infected individuals, whether other students, parents, guardians, teachers, and/or ancillary workers. Those that assert they have come in contact with an infected individual(s) are required to quarantine for a 14-days’ period of time. Further, it has been stipulated that all teachers, students, and ancillary working staff must wear masks, maintain social distancing guidelines of 6-feet, and not congregate.
Prudent and logical so far, but it doesn’t end there. There is a caveat.
The Yonkers Public School District and the Yonkers Federation of Teachers have adopted guidelines to which they have mutually agreed yet it has been noted all too often that there are teachers who congregate to eat lunch in each others’ company, as well as hanging out together, although when confronted they state that they are “discussing lesson plans”.
Teachers have also been noted to get together under the guise of a barbecue or some other social function that puts them in harms way, those of their fellow teachers, and their students. Let us not forget that one may become infected on day 1 and it may take as much as 14 days or even 21 days for symptoms to reveal themselves. So that from infection to recognizing symptoms of infection undermines the district’s ability to function as carriers are meandering about the schools unknown to those infected and others who are not yet symptomatic. When teaching staff is quarantined or have become infected, substitute staff add to extracting additional funds from the Yonkers Board of Education (YBoE) coffers that have long been said to be stressed beyond public knowledge.
While “discussing lesson plans” among those teaching same grade levels, it seems prudent and logical to abide by not congregating and maintaining social distancing to better avoid infection as previously noted and agreed upon. There is always the ability to call by telephone, cell phone, engage in face to face technology available for Android and Apple products. Yet marginalizing the efficacy of the protocols noted has deleterious effect on the financial capacity of the Yonkers Public School District, which does in fact exacerbate the number of people who become infected with COVID-19, and nurtures an adversarial environment that juxtaposes the interest of the district and that of the union.
While there is purpose for teachers to be represented by a union, in this case the Yonkers Federation of Teachers, Samantha Rosado-Ciriello has maintained an adversarial stance when common ground could be found that defers to best practice to protect teachers, ancillary staff, and students.
There are always two sides to a stalemate of one sort or another. It is overdue for the YFT to become transparent of the issues to which they have agreed and to which many are stating are standards to which too many do not comport in order to circumvent the present albeit evident abuse and ameliorate these deficiencies from all parties to their satisfaction. It is not that diffficult. There has to be an interest and a will to meet on these issues.
Likewise, the YBoE has yet to become comfortable with transparency. They must inform the public to the issues now.
The YFT and the YBoE suffer equally. They must get together to resolve these concerns post haste. If they do not, they will each suffer, though not as much as the student population who require an environment that fosters learning from and by the teaching staff they know, and not substitute teachers who can be avoided if all sides start to iron out their differences beginning on Monday.
Perhaps one way or the other, the standards in place must be revised in order to stop the hemorrhaging of the district’s financial capacity, the quality of learning environment missing since the YPS District opened its doors in September 2020, and yet to be revealed, the environment under which teachers are not being recognized for the professionalism and concern they bring to the dilemma .