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#Teachers protest outside Richard Carranza’s home over school reopenings

#Teachers protest outside Richard Carranza’s home over school reopenings

August 21, 2020 | 12:06pm | Updated August 21, 2020 | 12:35pm

Escalating their fight against the resumption of classroom learning next month, a crowd of city teachers massed outside Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s Brooklyn apartment building Thursday night to demand a reopening delay.

Carrying signs and chanting, the throng argued that the city has failed to ensure the safety of school staffers amid the coronavirus crisis and that buildings should remain locked until their demands are met.

Members of the group carried a cardboard guillotine to drive home their assertion that the Department of Education is putting them at risk.

The action began with roughly 150 protesters gathering at Grand Army Plaza and later marching through Prospect Park before arriving at Carranza’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens apartment building.

The protesters remained there for roughly 40 minutes before police arrived and dispersed them without incident.

“We’re not going to stop until the decision makers make the right decision,” Sunset Park teacher Annie Tan told The Post on Friday. “And Carranza is a decision maker. We’re going to escalate this until our message gets heard.”

City Hall is pressing forward with a plan to launch a hybrid learning model that will have kids alternate between home and classroom instruction next month.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has argued that the partial revival of the city school system is necessary to provide relief to working parents. He has also stressed the inferiority of remote learning compared to in-person instruction along with the need to re-establish some sense of normalcy for city kids.

“We need to support them,” he said Thursday. “They’ve already lost so much. We need to be there for them and help them move forward.”

But the teachers union has ratcheted up its fight against City Hall’s campaign in recent days.

United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew threatened a strike this week if the union’s safety demands aren’t met by the start of the school year.

Protest outside Richard Carranza's apartment
Annie Tan

The organization has asked for the testing of every city teacher and student for COVID-19 prior to the first day of class.

The DOE reported roughly 100 coronavirus-related deaths last year, a figure that included both administrators and teachers.

“New York City must have a rigorous and intensive testing system in place,” Mulgrew said at a press conference Wednesday. “What happened in March cannot happen again.”

De Blasio has held his ground thus far, arguing that teachers have a professional obligation to return to their buildings. He has cited falling coronavirus rates and comprehensive safety precautions in staking out his position.

Carranza has locked arms with de Blasio in the confrontation and asserts that the DOE will be prepared for building activity.

Tan said Friday that the city’s reopening plan is insufficient and that teachers are likely to intensify their resistance in the coming days and weeks as the school year approaches.

De Blasio is also facing mounting political opposition from the City Council.

A group of 31 council members, including education committee chair Mark Treyger, wrote a letter to de Blasio this week calling for a reopening delay.

“If we cannot guarantee a safe environment and transition, then our city should delay until we can guarantee that our school system is prepared to safely reopen for our 1.1 million students,” the group wrote.

The council members cited several concerns, from the provision of protective equipment to cleaning capabilities to a lack of financial specifics on costs related to coronavirus safeguards.

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