10 NYC School Buildings Closed Due to Ventilation Issues as Teachers Return to Classrooms

By WCBS Newsradio 880

New York City public schools don't start classes until Sept. 21, but teachers are going back Tuesday to start preparing for the new year.

Some buildings, however, are not ready to welcome anyone back.

The education department said 10 buildings housing 21 schools have been shut down for repairs because of poor ventilation. The schools will remain remote until the problems are fixed, and students will be reassigned to other facilities if repairs go past the school start date.

"We have windows in there and we're not allowed to open them, so for years we've been suffering, getting sick, getting the flu every year because this has been a consistent issue and now with the pandemic, you know, it's even more worrisome," said Vanessa Ramos who teaches English at the Leadership & Public Service High School in Lower Manhattan, which is one of the buildings closed because of faulty ventilation. "Ventilation issues have long been a problem in this school and it has taken a pandemic to finally have them addressed."

Just a few blocks away, teachers were able to report to the Richard R. Green High School.

"Happy to be back, but a little bit nervous," said science teacher Peter Cochio. "Is everything going to be done the right way? Are the custodians going to do their job with the cleaning every night? But I think the situation we've set up is a good one."

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said he understands the fear and anxiety so many are facing, but assures "the decisions are based on science and doctors, not elected officials, not bureaucrats."

"There is not just one entity making decisions anymore, everyone is looking at all of the information together and then making the correct decisions," Mulgrew said.

Tuesday is the day education officials say a report for each school that includes classroom by classroom inspection will be posted online.

That information was originally supposed to be released last Friday.

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