Reopening Schools


A Q&A With NYSUT and AFT Leaders on Reopening K-12 Schools. Video and transcript.

The health and safety of NYSUT members and their students is the statewide union’s top priority. With so much uncertainty around reopening plans for September, many questions remain about what can be done to protect members and their loved ones. “I know that many members are frightened — you don’t want to have to choose between your job and your life," says NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. "We will continue to demand that state guidelines are followed, and will explore all possible actions to push back, starting with legal ones."

We've made the resources on this page available to support our local unions and members as they engage in conversations in their communities on the safe reopening of public schools. Subscribe to our email newsletter to stay informed.



These resources will help you to engage in your community's conversation on reopening schools, including perspectives on instruction, health and safety considerations, and additional resources for NYSUT local union leaders.

SRP Health and Safety: Transportation Concerns when Schools Reopen (leader login required)

To help develop guidance to local unions and field staff, NYSUT assembled a transportation staff focus group in May with about a dozen bus drivers and bus monitors/aides from around the state. This document summarizes the focus group discussion, as well as suggestions for how to address several of the concerns. As always, local union leaders should consult with their NYSUT labor relations specialist for questions and advice. Learn more.

Planning for School Reopening: The instructional questions that must be answered

As the education community looks to reopen New York schools, we must look through the lens of educational equity and access for all students. That is why we have assembled a series of thought-provoking questions for you to consider when developing your local union’s positions about reopening. Learn more.

Health and Safety Considerations for Reopening Public Schools

NYSUT local unions have an important role to play in ensuring our schools are safe places for members and the school community. That’s why all NYSUT locals should insist on participating in the development of their building’s re-opening plan. This resource provides an overview of developing a workplace risk assessment; creating a plan to protect the school community; and offering training and communication on health and safety policies and procedures. Learn more.

How to Organize Your Health and Safety Committee

NYSUT is committed to ensuring that our collective voice is heard on all issues related to the health and safety of our school communities. One way this can be done is by working with our schools to establish effective health and safety committees. We encourage you to review this how-to guide (PDF) to learn more about best practices and what the state law requires. Learn more.

Health and Safety Resource Guide for Reopening Schools (login required)

We recognize there are a lot of moving pieces. This resource guide for local presidents and NYSUT labor relations specialists contains key questions to consider and other health and safety information that will help those developing plans to reopen schools. We do not prescribe specific policy since every situation is unique and many local factors must be considered. Learn more. Leader login required.

NYSDOH: Interim Advisory for In-Person Special Education Services and Instruction

After the governor issued an executive order allowing districts to offer in-person summer services for students with disabilities, the state Department of Health recently posted an interim guidance advisory.

This advisory outlines minimum requirements for opening schools for summer special education services. While the advisory outlines some provisions, additional health and safety details should be considered in order to have a comprehensive plan for bringing staff and students back to school. Learn more.

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