PFT President Jerry Jordan Calls for Intervention in Reopening School Buildings

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February 4, 2021

News Release: Philadelphia Federation of Teachers - Jerry T. Jordan, President


PHILADELPHIA—"School buildings are scheduled to reopen on Monday, and I am unable to assure their safety for reoccupancy. It's that simple. Health and safety of the educators and students of Philadelphia is paramount. Despite ongoing discussions with the School District, we do not believe safety conditions outlined by the MOA have been met. As such, I have called for the intervention of the neutral third party, as indicated by our negotiated agreement.

"Data is missing and incomplete. And the data that we do have is troubling. Entire schools have maximum occupancy of zero according to air balancing reports. We have repeatedly asked for real, concrete solutions, and instead have been presented with a dangerous window-fan installation program that further jeopardizes the health and safety of our educators and young people. This 'solution' is offensive, and it speaks volumes about the overall approach to reopening buildings at all costs. There's nothing 'good faith' about this.

"Quite frankly I am disgusted that the District would continue forward with a path towards reopening buildings that again puts my dedicated members in harm's way, and in just a few short weeks, will put Philadelphia's children in harm's way.

"When given the opportunity, only one third of eligible students chose the hybrid option. I suspect that the District's abysmal track record in dealing with their ongoing facilities crisis plays an important factor in many family's decisions to remain virtual at this time.

"Make no mistake: my members want to be in school buildings doing the job they love- when it is safe to do so. And right now, it's not."