For Immediate Release
Statement from Anthony Beckford regarding New York City School Closings:
"Each day there are new cases of COVID-19 in New York, but yet Mayor De'Blasio, Chancellor Carranza and the Department of Education seem to not be taking this matter seriously. The well being and health of our children, teachers, staff and school crossing guards and their families are a priority. They must be treated as so. So far two schools in the Bronx and one in Brooklyn had to be shut down due to students who tested positive to the Coronavirus. At Central Brooklyn Ascend Middle School in East Flatbush, a notice was sent to parents that one of the students came into contact with someone who tested positive (this school did not shut down). It is time for our children to be treated as human beings and not dollar signs in seats. Education is fundamental, but Health is a Priority. I am demanding Mayor De'Blasio, Chancellor Carranza and the Department of Education to shut down all schools immediately, if they truly care about the health and safety of New Yorkers, especially our children.
Below is my NYC Health and Safety proposal:
New York City schools need to be closed and the DOE needs to adopt the summer school format immediately. This will minimize the spread of the Coronavirus and still provide meal services for students who rely on school meals. For those who are unable to travel, then the city must activate a meal drop plan to service those students. The schools that are left opened to provide these services, should do so through a grab and go model i stead of a sit down meal. Each site should have medical professionals on site to assist in any questions, concerns or services needed.
(Lessons: Schools can provide homework packets to students so that their instructions are not interrupted.)
For any family that is having an issue in regards to childcare, they should be able to receive emergency vouchers for day care and after school service providers to accept their child, upon being able to provide a notice from a health professional showing that the child is negative for COVID-19. The schools can provide these services as well to parents in need of childcare. School bus services that are contracted with the city, should continue to be able to provide transportation to the schools that are part of this model and must be disinfected every 24 hours.
This will be a two week long set up that if enacted immediately, will help minimize the spread and panic. The school buildings that are closed due to non participation in this model, can be given adequate top to bottom cleaning to eradicate any trace of the virus that may be in the schools.
The two to three week shutdown should not be penalized by the taking away of spring break, scheduled days off or any extension to the school calendar. Any student or staff that has been late or absent since the outbreak, should not have that lateness or absence held against them.
All upcoming state exams should be cancelled or postponed
All Teachers, Staff Members and School Crossing Guards must receive Emergency Paid Leave during the shut down, and the emergency paid leave should not count against any sick days or future paid leave." - Anthony Beckford
*Anthony Beckford is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Community Leader, Organizer, former UFT Member, City Council Candidate and Parent.