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UFT President: All Students, Adults Must Have Evidence They Don't Have COVID-19 Before Being Allowed Back In School

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The union representing New York City teachers is demanding uniform safety measures before agreeing to allow its members to go back to school.

On Wednesday, the United Federation of Teachers released its school safety report, which says no school should open until there are uniform requirements and testing and tracing protocols in place.

"Every single person, both adult and child who is to enter a New York City public school, must have evidence that they do not have the COVID virus," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. "Within 10 days of a school opening that you must go for a COVID test and have a negative result before you will be allowed to enter that school building."


To show is determination to go toe to toe with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mulgrew held a press conference with public officials, community activists, parents and three doctors, who talked about the need for testing as a baseline to prevent the spread of COVID-19, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"We've seen recently that a rush without a plan, whether it's University of North Carolina, whether it's Notre Dame, whether it's schools in Indiana that opened and closed the same day, or schools in Georgia, where school children returned to school, there were rates of disease because no one was tested before they went in and the schools were closed that day," said Dr. Jacqueline Moline of Northwell Health.

The union is also calling for each school to have a COVID-19 response team in place before school starts.

New York City Public Schools are set to reopen on Sept. 10. However, Mulgrew said he has serious doubts about that start date.

"By my count, there are 1.1 million students, 75,000 teachers and thousands of principals, cafeteria workers and custodians. How is it physically possible for that to happen and for schools to open on Sept. 10?" Kramer asked.

"If you open schools on Sept. 10 it might be one of the biggest debacles in the history of the city," Mulgrew said.

"There are still many unanswered questions about how the virus effects young people, so we cannot turn our schools into biological research facilities," said Rev. Kirsten John Foy, founder of Arc of Justice.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza were unmoved by the union's actions. They toured a Brooklyn school on Wednesday to observe the school's personal protective equipment and social distancing programs.

"I work for the parents and the students of New York City. I work for the families. I work for the kids. My obligation is to hear their voices. They need school to be open," de Blasio said.

Mulgrew said he wants the mayor to know that he's deadly serious about a job action or teachers' strike, adding he's even willing to go to jail to protect the health and safety of students and teachers and anybody else that goes into a school building, Kramer reported.

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