Chappaqua teachers fear for safety after positive COVID-19 case reported

A letter from Chappaqua's school superintendent was sent to the staff at the middle school stating that a person with COVID-19 was at the school last week while infectious.

News 12 Staff

Aug 26, 2020, 9:55 AM

Updated 1,364 days ago

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 Chappaqua teachers are demanding that schools change to a fully remote start to the school year after officials are reporting a positive COVID-19 case.
A letter from Chappaqua's school superintendent was sent to the staff at the middle school stating that a person with COVID-19 was at the school last week while infectious.
Teachers are now saying this is making them very uncomfortable about the plans for the start of school.
The Chappaqua school district's plan is to start the school year with in-person classes five days a week, but teachers are strongly pushing for a remote start of the school year, followed by a gradual phase in of in-person instruction.
This is the same plan that many school districts in the Hudson Valley have decided to go with.
Chappaqua teachers held a rally last night saying it was just last week when teachers and staff began in-person meetings and training to prepare for the start of the school year and already there is a building with a confirmed case. They say this happened with just a limited number of adults in the building, while practicing social distancing. "Our primary concern is health and safety for all.  That's our number one concern. We also have some instructional concerns that we shared, but health and safety is number one. And we just don't feel like having so many bodies in the building at once, all of a sudden is in the best interest regarding health and safety," says Chappaqua Teachers Union leader Miriam Longobardi.
Longobardi says that teachers have been working hard to improve remote learning. "I feel like we could do a very outstanding job remotely; we've had tremendous professional development. Remote learning would not look like it did in the spring, it would be much more structured and organized. "
But Chappaqua's School Superintendent Dr. Christine Ackerman released a statement that reads, in part, “I firmly believe that our opening plan reflects the best interests of our school community. Barring an unforeseen issue, such as a drastic increase in the regional infection rate, we will open as scheduled and as outlined in our plans for September.”
Teacher union officials tell News 12 that if school officials go forward with their plan, there will be resistance from teachers.
Chappaqua school officials say they are working with the Westchester County Department of Health to identify any staff members who were exposed. The exposed individuals must quarantine for 14 days and need to be tested for COVID-19.
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