22 DOE staff members have tested positive, schools may not open on time, UFT head says

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NEW YORK CITY — UFT President Michael Mulgrew expressed frustrations on what he says is New York City’s inability to deliver on testing protocols and PPE in a video address to members Friday.

The UFT says 22 Department of Education staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Mulgrew says the city has failed to deliver agreed upon safety measures including test results within 24 to 48 hours, timely contact tracing, adequate PPE and ventilation inspections.

“This has gotta be one of the worst weeks many of us have gone through,” Mulgrew said. “I’m pissed off and it was completely unnecessary. You would think that with the challenge we’re facing the city would’ve brought it’s A game this week and they didn’t, they just didn’t.”

So far 21 schools and 10 buildings have been shut down due to COVID-19.

Mulgrew says that not only has their been inadequate PPE, there hasn’t been direction on how schools are supposed to share PPE. He says some special education teachers have been planning for kids to return on the sidewalk because the DOE hasn’t cleaned some buildings since March.

“Your employees, our members who dedicate their lives to some of the most challenged students in the city and you’re giving us an excuse,” he said.

Mulgrew said that the city needs to get its act together on rapid results and that custodial staff members also have not yet received all the cleaning materials they need. He said those are the two hurdles that must be addressed, or else the Sept. 21 opening for schools could be at risk.

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