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NYSUT leader says social distance standards ‘must not change’, pushing back on return to in-person learning

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta has issued a statement regarding the confusion over in-person instruction standards at schools across New York.

NYSUT is a statewide union that has more than 600,000 members and represents teachers, human services, and health care workers at schools in New York.

Lawmakers have been calling for a reduction of the standards in distancing to get students back to in-person learning.

Pallotta says nothing has changed.

“As educators, we want our students to return to schools as soon as it is safe. Contrary to recent reports, the safety standards surrounding a return to in-person instruction in schools have not changed, nor has the science behind those standards. The New York State Department of Health and the CDC all agree: the safety of our students demands mandatory mask wearing and six feet of social distancing or the use of effective physical barriers. Decisions must also still be made collaboratively with parents and educators. These standards have not and must not change,” he said in a statement to media.

Lawmakers like Sen. Pam Helming have called for in-person instruction to resume – five days per week – as districts, students, and parents struggle with remote learning.

A few prominent school leaders have also noted that the only way districts could resume in-person learning is if social distancing guidance is relaxed.