The YFT vs. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Conundrum Hezitorial
UPDATED as of November 26, 2020
YONKERS, NY — November 25, 2020 —Yonkers Federation of Teachers (YFT) Union President Samantha Rosado-Ciriello issued a directive to the membership on Friday, November 20th via email. She presented a litany of issues and concerns after her salutary opening which read, “Dear YFT Brothers and Sisters”.
She defined and delineated the following concerns in her opening remarks…
“The superintendent’s response to our query is mostly unresponsive
(see below). In addition, we have concerns about the district’s consent form for testing in the yellow zone. We believe the district has exceeded its authority beyond the scope and intent of the Governor’s order in the following manner…
The list the YFT President Rosado-Ciriello defined area…
1) Signing the form gives consent for biweekly random testing until June 30 unless revoked in writing.
2) Signing gives consent to get tested if a person exhibits symptoms.
3) Signing gives consent to be tested if they come in contact with a COVID positive person in school.
4) Signing gives consent for the district to share information with government entities in addition to the Department of Health (DOH).
5) In one area it states the testing is voluntary and is not a condition of employment, yet in another area it states “declining testing may affect my ability to work until I am tested or quarantined pursuant to Yonkers Public Schools policies and procedures.”.
- Signing the form gives consent for biweekly random testing until June 30 unless revoked in writing
- Signing gives consent to get tested if a person exhibits symptoms
- Signing gives consent to be tested if they come in contact with a COVID positive person in school
- Signing gives consent for the district to share information with government entities in addition to the DOH
- In one area it states the testing is voluntary and is not a condition of employment, yet in another area it states “declining testing may affect my ability to work until I am tested or quarantined pursuant toYonkers Public Schools policies and procedures.”
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Also on November 23, 2020 an email to which the YT has not learned the name of the person who emailed the item, the following was stated, “This should help everyone uunderstand what is happening in our yellow zone schools. I will also forward the staff consent to be tested form. I have also sent it to our lawyer for review. It may indeed exceed legal boundaries and we will find out before we recommend signing consent. We must understand exactly what we are consenting to. I am 100% sure their lawyers spend a great deal of time crafting the language. We need to know what this all means for us.”
As an addendum to that noted above, YFT President Rosado-Ciriello posted “additional info from the superintendent’:
The test is called: Binaxnow COVID-19 AG Card and Navica.
School nurses have been trained.
If test kits arrive this week, begin Cohort B this Wednesday, November 25, 2020.
Staff who volunteer for the test will test on November 30, 2020 and December 7, 2020.
Rosado-Ciriello closes with, “We will continue to keep you updated as we receive information, while advising her posture “In Solidarity”.
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“On the afternoon of November 20, 202 Dr. Quezada formed Rosado-Ciriello as follows: “All testing will be conducted in abidance with Governor’s order and other mandated health protocols. I will be happy to discuss the protocols with the team next week.”
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What follows are the “Previous questions Stipulated on Friday, November 20, 2020.
1. Since the testing is free, why is it necessary to collect proof of insurance? We strongly object and will advise our members of such. No longer being requested. Thank you
HEZI’s NOTE: Since the test is free, proof of insurance is unnecessary. Proof of identity is logically requested. Once ID is proven, any supplementary information about such an individual is known to the City of Yonkers. Even so, it seems a recalcitrant and adversarial stance for an unknown basis.
2. What medical provider is the district partnering with? No answer, but Dr. Rabadi will supervise the process and all nurses have been trained.
HEZI’s NOTE: Dr. Ammir Rabadi was advised on Tuesday, November 24th that testing of 20 percent of students, and 20 percent of a grouping of teachers, custodians, kitchen staff, and other ancillary workers would fall under his aegis even though there was a previous suggestion a third partner might be those responsible for the testing. Grove. Cuomo instead informed D. Rabadi that responsibility for testing would fall under his aegis. As previously noted nursing staff were trained in administering the tests. 800 testing units would reveal results in 15 minutes.
3. Where will the tests be performed? Rosado-Ciriello wrote, “No answer”.
HEZI’s NOTE: The tests conducted on Wednesday, November 25th were performed at Hostos and P.S.9. Tests will be conducted on Saturday, but I have not been able to confirm where. Those who need to know will logical be informed.
4. How and where will the tests be stored? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Storage will reside in the Electronic Lab Reporting Service (ELRS) Website which falls under the NYS Commerce Website.
5 . How will the district maintain privacy of individuals tested? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: privacy will be maintained by ELRS as noted above.
6. If the staff test results come back positive, will staff be sent home immediately? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Those individuals who test positive will be sent to an isolation room where they will need to await a contact tracing inquiry before being permitted to go home to self sequester.
7. If the students’ test results come back positive, what plan is in place for isolating the student(s)? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Similar to adult staff, after contact tracing information is ascertained, the student will need to await a parent/guardian to take the child home.
8. If staff tests positive, and they are sent home, will their students also be sent home? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: See response to item 6.
9. Will contact tracing begin immediately upon learning of a COVID positive result? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: See answer to item 6.
10. How will the district accomplish 20% within 2 weeks? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Methodically. Testing as many people from the disparate school on specific dates to which all staff and students will be informed on the day it will be conducted.
11. Has the district received enough test kits to accomplish 20%? The kits have not arrived.
HEZI’s NOTE: See answer 2. When supply is deficient, staff will obtain more and in so doing complete the task of testing everyone.
12. Who will monitor classes while testing is occurring? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Was not able to ascertain a response to the issue raised in issue 12.
13. Please provide the YFT with a copy of the consent form to be issued to YFT members for review by our attorneys prior to use. Received from our members, not the district.
HEZI’s NOTE: Since the YFT learned of the consent form from staff, I chose not to make further inquiry over the issue. A email addressed to Yonkers Public School Superintendent Edwin Quezada seems a logical point of inquiry.
14. As numbers continue to climb, how can we maintain safety in
schools if we cannot staff them? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Few teachers and few students presently attend school grounds. If the question infers a deficient sense of security the issue may best be logically requested of Dr. Edwin Quezada or the Yonkers Police Department or both.
15. We request the number of quarantined staff and students per building per case be published as part of the district daily COVID updates. No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: This question may or may not fall under a concern over privacy. Besides, as the number of those infected and/or healthy will be be derived from Dr. Quezada, and defined by whether the number of those infected will decrease or increase and thereby alerting the City of Yonkers if we have fallen out of the YELLOW designation or moved to the ORANGE or RED Designation.
16. As a result of the desegregation order, Yonkers Public Schools buses students across the entire city, rather than to neighborhood schools. With certain zip codes designated as yellow and students spread throughout the district, how does that affect the “school community vs, outside community” data? No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: The Desegregation Case and its directives must be adhered to by law. The fact that buses traverse will students from one section of the city to another cannot be ameliorated without some legal recourse. Then again, students from one section of CoY may not have a school to attend closer to where they may reside. Students travel and do adults throughout the city and beyond. The only solution at present is to wear a mask, wash your hands often, maintain social distancing, and any other directives of best practice. Perhaps the Yonkers Public School District can respond to the legal issue and/or by some protocol to which I am not privy.
17. If a staff member volunteers or is selected to be tested, can it be done by their personal physician or must they be tested by the district’s provider? Yes, staff can go to their individual provider, test, and share the results.
HEZI’s NOTE: So for those who choose to be tested other than under the aegis of the City of Yonkers, they can evade showing their identity cards, insurance forms, what have you. Is their information secure from prying eyes. Who knows. But you have a choice which evidently negates the litany of questions that are repetitious.
18. We are urging the district and Mayor’s office to strongly consider remote instruction after Thanksgiving and after winter recess. No answer.
HEZI’s NOTE: Your “urging the district and the mayor to strongly consider remote instruction” is disingenuous as the conduct of the YFT is intentionEd to undermine maintaining the Yonkers Public School District keeping its doors open by refusing to have teachers being tested as demanded by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s directive.
HEZI’s TAKEAWAY: It may be prudent to consider if refusing to be tested will create a broad gap between Governor Cuomo’s intent to keep the school’s open and the YFT’s interest to shut the schools down. What does the YFT do in response to the governor dismissing all teaching staff and hiring a new cadre of teachers looking to be employed. What will YFT’s outcry be then?
FINAL HEZI NOTE: It has become evident that were the parties involved, that is, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directives to the Yonkers Public School District shared in a timely manner, which it seemingly has, and YFT President Rosado-Ciriello interested in resolution to her concerns, administrative and teaching would not be wound up into a frenzy, and parents and students would have an easier time contending with the fluidity of falling into a “yello zone” designation. Dr. Quezada would also be wise to address the Parents / Guardians of the student population, as well as the City of Yonkers in its entirety and contend with issues yet to be brought up. Further still, the adversarial stance must be ratcheted down and civility must enter the discourse. The outcome of the plans in place, and others that may become necessary if numbers of infected individuals continue to rise rather than abate, it would be refreshing to hear a sense of compassion from all the actors involved in a forthright manner.
Yonkers must learn to live by transparent means. The telling herein reveals Yonkers has a long way to go in serving all Yonkersites: students, teaching staff, ancillary staff, etc.