Albany, N.Y. Nov. 9, 2020 — New York State United Teachers today launched NYSUTCovidTracker.org, a new website designed to help track coronavirus-related health and safety concerns in schools across the state. (Check your security settings before linking due to warnings about possible issues)
As COVID-19 cases rise across the country and in some parts of New York, the website is intended to crowdsource reports of health and safety violations and concerns identified by school staff members, parents and community members. It includes a mapping tool that shows district-by-district information reported to NYSUT to help community members easily identify the issues in their region.
“A consistent flow of information about the safety of our schools is critical for educators, students and families, and this website is designed to help us all stay vigilant as the school year rolls on,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Though we know some districts are working closely with their staffs to put health and safety first, problems still exist around the state. By empowering educators and community members to report their concerns, it’s our hope that we can elevate the voices of those who otherwise may go unheard.”
As the winter months near, capturing the concerns of union members across New York about issues like insufficient ventilation, mask policies, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols is critical. With some districts shifting reopening strategies and others dealing with outbreaks in their communities, NYSUT believes these issues must be brought to the fore so more informed decisions can be made through public input.
“Communities should receive not only real-time COVID-19 infection data, but also a fuller picture of the issues educators are raising with their administrators,” Pallotta said. “We must continue to err on the side of caution. Identifying hot spots can help us do so.”
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.