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What legal rights do teachers have if they don’t want to return to the classroom amid Coronavirus Pandemic?

What happens if teachers refuse to go back to school this fall?

We have heard from a number of school districts in the region that are either moving to full-remote, or part-remote learning.

Some of those concerns have come from teachers, who say they don’t feel safe going back to school.


News10NBC spoke with Attorney Adam Ross with the New York State Bar Association, who said that the legal rights of teachers depends on a lot of factors.

“There is no general over-arching right that you have not to go to work just because you don’t feel comfortable going to work, but there are specific circumstances where an employee may be entitled to an accommodation,” Ross explained. “People have rights under the Family Medical Leave Act if they’re caring for someone in their home who has a serious health condition. It’s all based on your specific situation.”

NYSUT has lobbied for the state to enforce remote learning through the first half of the school year. Ross agreed that unions hold the most power in negotiating through those situations at the local level.


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