In response to untenable school conditions and the ongoing COVID surge, Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA—"Over the past four days, PFT members and allies have written over 40,000 letters to the Mayor, Superintendent, and members of the School Board in two 'action alert' campaigns [here and here]. I am again calling on the swift implementation of a sensible safety plan that addresses the concerns we have laid out over the past several weeks. These concerns, echoed by thousands throughout the District, are geared towards assuring the safe, in-person
January 10, 2022
In advance of Philadelphia witnesses being called to the stand in the landmark school funding lawsuit, PFT President Jerry T. Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA—"The case laid out by the prosecutors and witnesses in the landmark school funding lawsuit has been stark. For decades, this commonwealth has shirked its constitutional responsibility to provide every child across Pennsylvania with a thorough and efficient public education. As Philadelphia's witnesses begin to take the stand, we know that the extreme inequities and injustices will be laid bare even further. We have supported the lawsuit from the start and filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.
January 6, 2022
PHILADELPHIA—"I am deeply concerned by the new K12 guidance put forth by CHOP's Policy Lab as well as by the PDPH. Again, I want to be clear: this union wants schools to be open for in-person learning.
"We are encouraged that CHOP continues to recommend universal masking, regardless of vaccination status. Recent research shows that the use of a high quality (approved KF94, KN95, or N95) mask-- or at the very least, a double mask of combined surgical/cloth variety is absolutely essential; and in fact, PDPH recommends this approach. But the reality is that these resources are not provided to schools. Roughly 35% of schools have reported lack of mask supplies, and those that have masks are certainly not of the KF94, KN95, or N95 variety. And double masking is certainly not taking place or being recommended in any systemic way. As such, we are even more concerned by CHOP's 'mask to stay' guidance.
"Further, we are particularly concerned regarding the new recommendations regarding testing amidst an unprecedented COVID surge, with positivity rates approaching 40% in Philadelphia. For all practical purposes, the guidance permits the cessation of testing requirements for asymptomatic individuals as well as for individuals with mild symptoms.
January 5, 2022
PHILADELPHIA—"First, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the absolute horror that unfolded in Fairmount this morning. The PFT mourns the devastating loss of thirteen lives, including seven children, in this catastrophic tragedy. Our words are certainly insufficient, but we send our deepest condolences to the families, loved ones, and school communities affected by this tragedy.
"In order to keep the District informed of ongoing concerns regarding their untenable approach to school operation during this unprecedented virus surge, we reissued our survey of PFT Building Representatives to once again quantify the deep concerns we have around the COVID mitigation measures within our school buildings.
"Today, building representatives again completed a daily report back survey which detailed conditions in schools. We received 147 responses, which detailed the following:
January 4, 2022
PHILADELPHIA—"Instead of heeding our call for a 7-day pause on in-person learning to effectively plan for adequate mitigation measures, the District undertook an outrageous eleventh-hour plan that parents and educators alike learned about on social media late last evening. I was stunned yet unsurprised to learn that the list of schools impacted continued to expand until nearly midnight.
"This failure to plan left parents, students, and educators scrambling yesterday evening and today. Amidst a 38% positivity rate in the City of Philadelphia, this approach is simply obscene.
"At nearly every level, today has been chaotic and entirely untenable.
PHILADELPHIA—This evening, PFT President Jerry Jordan and Parkway Northwest Student Destiny Holley joined a virtual town hall on gun violence. The town hall was moderated by AFT President Randi Weingarten and featured the following panelists:
Abbey Clements: Teacher survivor of the Sandy Hook School tragedy and gun violence prevention activist
Destiny Holley: 11th grade student, Philadelphia
Fred Guttenberg: Parent and founder, Orange Ribbons for Gun Safety, Florida
Jerry Jordan: President, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
The town hall was streamed live on PFT's Facebook page