New York City prioritizes 10 schools for ventilation, air flow repairs; Staff to temporarily work from home

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Staff in 10 school buildings will temporarily work from home starting Tuesday, when teachers are supposed to start reporting back to their classrooms, as the city prioritizes them for ventilation and air flow repairs.

The Department of Education expects a number of these repairs to be completed within the next couple days.

Following months of inspection, Ventilation Action Teams comprised of School Construction Authority contracted independent, third-party engineers to conduct building walk-throughs and assess 1,485 buildings. They performed inspections to determine whether the ventilation systems, both mechanical and natural, in any room that school staff or students might occupy are operating or are in need of repair.

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The DOE is identifying alternate space for learning if necessary if repairs are not completed by Sept. 21.

The list of impacted schools includes:

- PS 45 - Horace E. Greene School
- PS 45 - Horace E. Greene School (Annex Building)
- The Maxine Greene HS for Imaginative Inquiry, Urban Assembly School for Media Studies, High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice, High School of Arts and Technology Manhattan / Hunter Science High School Special Music School
- P.S. M721 - Manhattan Occupational Training Center, Harvest Collegiate High School
- Leadership & Public Service High School
- P.S. Q222 - Fire Fighter Christopher A. Santora School
- The Riverview School, P.S. 110
- P.S. M094, Sixth Avenue Elementary School
- Success Academy Charter School - Harlem 1, Success Academy Charter School - Harlem 3, Manhattan Academy for Arts & Language, Murray Hill Academy, Unity Center for Urban Technologies
- High School of Economics and Finance

In addition to repairs, the Division of School Facilities also taking the following steps to improve air circulation:

- Installing portable High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in rooms.
- Flushing air two hours before and after occupation.
- Upgrading MERV-8 to MERV-13 filters where appropriate.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew released the following statement:

"Keeping everyone safe is our top priority. Inspections by the DOE and the UFT identified these serious ventilation issues, and we will continue to monitor these buildings and other schools to make sure all ventilation problems are solved. Where repairs and upgrades cannot be made, we will work with the DOE to help find alternative space before students return Sept 21."

Amid the threat of a teacher strike Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the start of the school year would be delayed.

It was announced that in-person learning in New York City public schools would be pushed back until September 21 with remote learning set to begin on September 16.

School was previously scheduled to begin with a blended approach on September 10.

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