PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is urging its members to write letters to the mayor and the school board to demand for various resources, from PPE and assistance, to COVID testing. PFT President Jerry T. Jordan released the information Wednesday, saying union members and allies have sent more than 40,000 letters to various leaders.

President Jordan said in the release:

“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. 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 operation of schools.”

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He highlighted five requests to make during the pandemic:

  • PAUSE: A pause on in-person learning to adequately implement a COVID safety plan that is jointly developed with the PFT and all stakeholders
  • PPE: Adequate PPE including now-recommended KF94s, KN95s or N95s for all students and staff; implementation (with fidelity) of new mask protocols; adequate supplies including sanitizer and changed air purifier filters
  • Testing and Vaccination: Expansion of COVID testing program to include asymptomatic students (implemented by an outside provider); rejection of new guidance suggesting the elimination of COVID testing; access to plentiful, unexpired testing supplies; expansion of COVID vaccination programs in schools
  • Nurses: Certified school nurses in every building, every day; supports for school nurses
  • Metrics: Sensible metrics for district, school, and classroom/grade closures
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In two days worth of surveys, 93% and 95% of participants said staffing shortages are impacting the school building.

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