BRONX ELECTED OFFICIALS STAY SILENT ON BRINGING ESSENTIAL COVID-19 RESPONSE RESOURCES TO THE BOROUGH; FAMILIES TOLD TO “JUST STAY HOME”
Bronx elected officials tow Dept. of Health line, “stay home”, while making little to no public demands for their already high risk constituents to access CoVid-19 response resources.
Please Sign Our Petition
Please contribute to the MORE survey to gather our stories: COVID-19 DOE Community Survey.
New York Department of Education schools across the Bronx and throughout the boroughs report staying open despite reported CoVid-19 cases. Because responsive testing was not provided for these school communities, the impending exponential exposure to CoVid-19 from school community spread is no longer traceable. The Bronx, despite its status as having higher health risk due to pre-existing conditions and socio-economic factors, is not getting appropriate attention from elected officials, the DoE, or the DoH. We demand resource allocation that is responsive to the particular needs of Bronx residents who have been exposed to CoVid-19.
While Governor Cuomo designated the Javits Center as a temporary hospital, the Bronx will not benefit due to well-documented health inhibitors that block Bronx residents from attaining proper health attention in the first place: chronic disease, household poverty, low educational attainment, housing insecurity, food insecurity, mental health barriers and language barriers.
As such, We Demand the Following:
- INFORM- DoH and DoE must deliver official notice to ALL families where community members tested CoVid-19 positive and schools were not closed, along with an official apology for such negligence at all schools with exposures.
- RESOURCE- NYC Council Dept Chairs of Education and Health must immediately create an action plan to respond to enormous pre-existing, well-documented, and neglected health disparities in the Bronx that will inevitably be amplified by the CoVid-19 outbreak. We need basic and health-related resources allocated to the Bronx. Open the Kingsbridge Armory for access to care for Bronx students, their families and staff who may have been exposed at the schools and are now seeking treatment. CoVid-19 response resources, including supplies and testing, must be distributed equitably across the boroughs to ensure health justice, with special attention to the Bronx, one of the most health-challenged regions in the nation.
- FUND- NYC Council Dept Chair of Education must demand appropriate budget allocations to avoid future work-place and learning environment conditions that encourage similar community spread. Our schools also need basic and health-related resources to ensure healthy and safe working and learning conditions. Nurses must be permanent in all DoE schools, schools must be equipped with basic sanitary needs like toilet paper and soap, and old school buildings must be repaired.
- PROTECT- school-based staff (SSA, cafeteria, educators) at enrichment centers must be provided proper protective gear and supplies. Any school-based staff currently in attendance at the building must be provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including all custodial/School Safety Agents/ DOE staff at enrichment centers.
- RESTORE- DoE must retroactively deem 3/13 through 3/19 “non attendance days,” adopt a no-penalty policy toward staff absences during this period (No CAR day loss). This is reasonable in light of schools remaining open after DoH-confirmed reports of CoVid-19 on campus such as LaGuardia HS, Alfred E. Smith, Grace Dodge, and the Roosevelt campus. Students and staff rightfully distrusted the inadequate DoH and DoE response to the presence of the virus on campuses.
- ADVOCATE- The Public Advocate immediately should issue a statement echoing these demands and call on the DoE to stop issuing gag orders on employees so that their freedom of speech is respected in the vein of public health and national security. School-based employees have called on their superiors including the Chancellor, the Dept. of Health, 311, Bronx elected officials and received a “business as usual” response! Unethically, school-based staff concerns are met with threats of disciplinary action. Bronx staff and residents deserve equitable health responses and advocacy in our demands during this urgent health crisis.