03:06 - Source: CNN
School districts experience challenges with remote learning
CNN  — 

The president of New York City’s teachers’ union said no adult or child should be allowed into a New York City school building without proof of either a negative Covid-19 diagnostic test or a positive antibody test.

The request is part of the school safety reopening plan presented during a press conference Wednesday by Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). UFT represents nearly 200,000 NYC public school educators and school-related professionals.

Mulgrew suggested that all adults and parents consider going for an antibody test, and that a positive antibody test would be recognized for two months, according to UFT’s plan.

“Within 10 days of a school opening, you must go for a Covid test and have a negative result before you will be allowed to enter that school building,” Mulgrew said of those who do not have a positive antibody result.

Diagnostic tests check to see whether a person is currently infected, while antibody tests determine whether a person has previously been infected.

The press conference comes as New York City schools are preparing to teach more than 1.1 million students with a hybrid model in which students can attend in-person classes a few days a week. Once the epicenter of the virus, New York City on Tuesday reported a 7-day average of 138 new daily coronavirus cases.

The country’s second and third-largest school districts, Los Angeles Unified School District and Chicago Public Schools, both plan to start the school year all virtual.

Cuomo: Opening schools is ‘risky’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he wants all New York state school districts to look at their reopening plans to see how they would handle an outbreak similar to the one at Notre Dame, which has reported 222 coronavirus cases since August 3.

“Look at that and then look at your school reopening plan and how would you make sure that you don’t wind up in that situation. What was your testing procedure? Could it have gotten that big that fast?” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also suggested that an outbreak in a K-12 school would be more problematic than an outbreak at a college.

“Frankly on a college it’s not as bad because the student is infecting other students,” he said. “K-12, if you have 130 students positive, it’s not 130, it’s 500 because a student would have gone home and dealt with people In their immediate family.”

“The basic point is opening schools is risky and problematic,” Cuomo added.

UFT said Wednesday it has more than 100 staff members visiting NYC schools to check the conditions of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilation and cleaning supplies available. Mulgrew emphasized the importance of all schools receiving the same support and meeting the same criteria.

“We don’t need a hotline to be setup if there is a problem,” Mulgrew said. “We want to assure the parents and the teachers that things are already in place before they head into the school.”

The hotline reference was an apparent dig at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comments Tuesday that a hotline will be available to all principals for “rapid resupply” of PPE once school resumes.

Mulgrew said UFT’s plan was developed alongside medical experts, and he is asking de Blasio to adopt it before NYC’s schools open in early September.

“No New York City school should open unless it meets the criteria, all of the criteria, in our school safety report,” Mulgrew said.

CNN’s Julian Cummings and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.