July 14, 2020
PHILADELPHIA— This morning, the PFT released its recommendations regarding reopening school buildings. These recommendations are built on months of member feedback, and are developed in conjunction with insight and expertise from scientists and infectious disease experts.
Our report outlines nine critical criteria that must be met in order to consider reopening schools safely:
- Virus tracking
- Alternatives to in-person instruction
- Contact tracing
- Facilities evaluation and remediation
- Decluttering, cleaning, and sanitizing
- Stakeholder feedback
- Fidelity of implementation
The report then delves into critical recommendations on seven related topics:
- Educational framework
- Physical distancing program
- Hand-washing program
- Personal protective equipment
- Decluttering, deep cleaning, & disinfecting
- Medical screening/testing, contact tracing, isolation, & quarantine
- High-risk staff and students
“It is incumbent upon all of us to navigate the discussions and decision making regarding reopening school buildings with the utmost care. The recommendations outlined in this report are fundamental to the safety and wellbeing of the children and staff who learn and work in schools each day. In addition to incorporating the feedback from more than 17,000 member surveys into our recommendations, we have also consulted with scientists and infectious disease specialists in developing these guidelines.
“While we are navigating this profoundly challenging situation at a local and state level, the threats and rhetoric from the highest office in the country have served to further exacerbate the very real fear and trepidation that so many of us have regarding reopening school buildings. The current occupant of the White House and his morally bankrupt secretary of education have, yet again, displayed their callous disregard for the health, safety, and very humanity of those they are purported to represent. The stakes are too high if we don’t get this right. Educators, parents, community members, and students want school buildings to reopen. But they also want to be safe from this deadly virus.
“Our union remains deeply committed to fighting for the education system that our students need to thrive. As we move forward, all of us must collectively act with urgency and with an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to the young people and educators we are fortunate enough to serve every day.”
Download the Appendices: Appendices A-D