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Teachers Refuse to Work Inside Jackson Heights School Building After A Staff Member Tested Positive for COVID-19

Teachers at I.S. 230 in Jackson Heights work in the schoolyard after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19 (UFT via Twitter)

Sept. 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Teachers at a Jackson Heights public school refused to work inside the school building Friday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The teachers at I.S. 230, located at 73-10 34th Ave., said they will not work inside the school building until they know it is safe.

The positive case was reported to the school officials and the teachers union on Thursday, but the city’s test and trace corps failed to reach out to the teacher who tested positive and her possible contacts the same day, according to the United Federation of Teachers union (UFT)

The teacher with the positive test wasn’t contacted by the test and trace corps until Friday morning around 10 a.m., a UFT spokesperson said.

The teacher reported to work at I.S. 230 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the union said.

However, it’s still unclear if any staff members who had been in close contact with the teacher have gotten calls from the city’s “rapid-response” city test and trace corps team — as of 3:15 p.m., according to the spokesperson.

The test and trace corps must begin investigating a self-reported positive coronavirus case within three hours of the initial report, as mandated by the Department of Education’s reopening plan.

The UFT called the delay “unacceptable.”

The union said there have been at least 16 COVID-19 positive cases among 15,000 recently tested teachers citywide.

The DOE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Kevin Schleifer

If the teachers refuse to work then furlough them for their own safety and health and hire new younger teachers who are not afraid or as effective and willing to do their job. Problem solved. Next.

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Dana Frankovich

I wonder how many of these teachers were partying it up and vacationing on full pay all during the closure. I wager a fair amount. Now that school is about to open it is not safe… I suspect if the city decided to reduce pay by 60-70% for remote learning all of a sudden the teachers would be singing a different tune about how the schools must reopen.

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