55 NYC school staff members test positive for COVID-19; 2,000 additional teachers being sent to schools to address shortages

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By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Fifty-five public school staff members in New York City have tested positive for COVID-19, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

At a news conference Monday morning, de Blasio said the city has tested 16,982 Department of Education staffers for COVID-19. Fifty-five of those staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since teachers and other DOE personnel returned to schools to prepare for the fall semester, he said.

A previously closed school, however, reopened, today, he said.

“That is a positivity rate of 0.32 percent. So that tells us a lot," de Blasio said. “The more people we test, the more we’ll know. And we can keep things moving forward.” 

“Some people will test positive,” he added. “And those folks will immediately get support.”

The MORE United Federation of Teachers caucus — which includes members of the UFT and members of school communities and their allies — held a "Day of Action" of protests Monday outside two city schools.

"We're just a few days into the school reopening plan negotiated by the Mayor and UFT leadership, and it's already clear our communities are in danger," the group said in a statetment. "Positive cases around the city have been reported among staff, requiring colleagues to quarantine at a moment's notice. Staff returned to buildings with sinks, windows, toilets still broken, without PPE and without adequate staffing for the hybrid model."

De Blasio on Monday said New York City will be sending an additional 2,000 teachers to its schools in an effort to address staffing shortages ahead of the first day of school on Sept. 21.

The certified Department of Education teachers will be sent to schools “immediately," he said. Among the 2,000 educators are substitute teachers, as well as “redeployed central staff” and temporary DOE staff members.

De Blasio also said the city will be launching a new “COVID Response Situation Room” to provide support for schools that report COVID-19 cases, he said.

Principals and administrators will be able to call a “situation room” hotline if they discover that a staff member or student has COVID-19. The “situation room” team will then launch a contact tracing effort and take “all the appropriate steps” to isolate the person with COVID-19, he added.