MASSENA — If you have a health or safety concern about a school district in your area, a new website launched by the state teachers’ union now makes it easier to report and track those complaints for districts across the state.
Site visitors, including school staff members, parents and community members, can report safety issues such as cleaning and disinfecting, mask policies, ventilation, social distancing and district communication.
New York State United Teachers launched the website last week at nysutcovidtracker.org. It runs independently and separately from the state’s COVID-19 Report Card online coronavirus tracker tool.
NYSUT Press Secretary Matthew Hamilton said anyone can post anonymously if they so choose, or they can provide their name and contact information for NYSUT’s internal use to follow up with them.
He said the tracker is meant to be a tool for anyone, whether it’s a local union leader, NYSUT member or parent, to submit complaints without fear of reprisal from their administrators or others. Information received by NYSUT is elevated to the field staff and local leaders as it comes in to determine what may need to be addressed or what may have been resolved since the posting.
The website includes a mapping tool showing district-by-district information reported to NYSUT to help community members easily identify the issues in their region.
As of Monday, only two school districts in the tri-county region had complaints submitted against them. Two safety reports, concerning social distancing and ventilation capabilities at the Massena Central School District, were submitted and heard last Friday, Nov. 13. A third safety report was submitted and heard Monday against Lawrence Avenue Elementary School, Potsdam, concerning face masks, cleaning and disinfection, and social distancing.
“A consistent flow of information about the safety of our schools is critical for educators, students and families, and this website is designed to help us all stay vigilant as the school year rolls on,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said in a statement. “Though we know some districts are working closely with their staffs to put health and safety first, problems still exist around the state. By empowering educators and community members to report their concerns, it’s our hope that we can elevate the voices of those who otherwise may go unheard.”