Wednesday 's weather was nice, but that wasn’t why teachers at the Taft School Campus in the Bronx opted to take their work outside - at least, not according to one math teacher.
“UFT passed out a checklist for ventilation and to make sure it’s safe for teachers and students to return, and the building did not meet that requirement. So teachers don’t feel safe, and they are working outside,” the teacher said.
Teachers we spoke with say they should have been focused on their students. Instead, they’re thinking about their safety.
“We are ready to work. We want to work. We want to be in the building. We want our kids in the classroom. We want this," one social studies teacher said. "But without the safety procedures put in place and the protocols, how can we make sure that the kids will be safe? How can I make sure that I’ll be safe?"
Specifically, teachers at Taft are worried about access to personal protective equipment and adequate ventilation.
"How is PPE going to be distributed, and how do teachers access PPE when they need it?" said Daniel Snyder, a chemistry teacher at the school. "But we also want to see more information about ventilation. All the rooms in the building, except for ones in the basement, have windows that open, but right now, the standard is having one window open."
The DOE acknowledged issues at Taft that needed to be addressed. A spokesperson says professional engineers had identified work needed on exhaust fans at the school, among other issues.
Taft, however, is not alone, Earlier this week, teachers at PS 139 in Brooklyn refused to work inside after a positive coronavirus test there.
During the mayor’s daily briefing. a reporter asked about ventilation concerns at PS 63 on the Lower East Side.
"We will absolutely send the team back to PS 63 today to see exactly what happened," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "And if any classroom is not up to snuff, it'll be taken out of circulation immediately. And it will not be used until it is fixed.'