NEW ACTION ALERT! NYC is trying to stop the new state guidance that would stop them from kicking kids out of in-person school.
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If you support the statements in this letter, please copy and paste it into your own email and send it to UFT President Michael Mulgrew (and Mayor Bill De Blasio)
To the Honorable UFT President Michael Mulgrew:
We write to you to express that, as educators, we fully support the new guidance that has come from NYSED, stating that forced in-school COVID testing for students is not legal. In the same light we wish to draw attention to the fact that forced in-school testing of staff is also not legal.
TEACHERS FOR CHOICE would like to lay out some of the facts surrounding this as it pertains to both students and staff:
- PCR COVID testing is not FDA approved. It has only received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). It is against federal law to mandate any EUA product.
- NYC’s in-school COVID testing regime is taking a 20% sample of a school population once a week. Allowing for a small percentage of students and staff to exercise their right to opt-out under federal law does not make any school less safe. In fact testing 20% of a school population is an epidemiological exercise, and a historical one at that. Test results are taking 2 to 7 days to come back and do not directly impact the day-to-day safety of a school building. There are many other protocols in place that actually have a direct impact on day-to-day safety.
- There have been teachers and students refusing to sign the in-school COVID testing consent form since it first began in October, yet schools were as safe in October as they are today.
- It is critical that our schools, and our government, balance safety with individual and constitutional rights. We cannot focus on one and discard the other.
- We have heard from staff that there are elementary school students being tested even when they break down in uncontrollable tears or wet themselves. This is abusive to children and the UFT should take a strong stance against such policies. Again, there needs to be balance between safety and individual rights. How can we as educators be in support of such heartless practices to children as young as 6-years-old?
- Why does NYC stand alone as the only district not accepting outside COVID test results? Even Los Angeles schools say they will accept outside COVID test results when their district reopens. There is no logical explanation that makes sense as to why parents and staff cannot submit results from an outside doctor.
We strongly encourage you to take what we have laid out here into consideration and to follow the new NYSED guidelines. Additionally we ask for you to go one step further and allow the following options:
- Allow outside test-results to be submitted
- Allow an opt-out option for testing of staff members
Virtually every other school district in New York, and across the country, does not force COVID testing on staff or students because doing so is illegal. I understand and respect that you are trying to do what you believe is best and safest for your membership. However, the UFT should not stand on the side of forcing an illegal practice to take place under its watch. Please accept the new guidance from NYSED and expand upon it to ensure teachers and staff rights are respected as well.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Michael Kane & NY Teachers For Choice http://www.nyteachersforchoice.org