Message Regarding School Reopening from LUT President, John Caulfield

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Hi everyone!

I hope you are enjoying your summer vacation!

As September creeps up on us, and with increased media coverage, the reopening of schools is on everyone’s mind.  I am sure there are tons of questions and I am also sure, that this topic creates more than a little bit of anxiety for all of us.

Prior to the school year ending, the District formed a Task Force.  Multiple workgroups were given the hardship of envisioning schools in September in the midst of a global health crisis.  They brainstormed, offered plenty of recommendations, and broke into a myriad of subcommittees that examined each issue and the impact on curriculum – they worked hard.  This all started before any guidance was provided by the State Ed. Department, the Board of Regents or the Governor’s Office.  These groups worked into the summer.  Each group was extremely well represented by Union leaders and LUT members across all grade levels.  We were able to get a good head-start.

Last week, the Governor finally addressed the reopening of schools.  He set parameters based on data to determine our return.  He also had the State Ed. Department formulate reopening guidance to the local school districts in order to create a plan for three different models of instruction; Full In-person, Hybrid and Fully Remote.  The expectation is that health & safety are the top priorities of any instructional plan.

No easy task.

Yesterday, your Union Officers met with Central Office staff to review the draft document that was created based on the Task Force input, the newly acquired State Guidelines and even some valuable information from other school districts.  This document is due in Albany, by Friday, July 31st

We came to this meeting with one major priority – the safety of our teachers and the safety of the children we teach.  No reopening plan for instruction is worthwhile, unless it ensures the safety of its most valuable assets - humans. We offered strong recommendations that we believe will provide an additional level of safety beyond what is recommended by the guidance.

We will continue to have further discussions about September with administration.  There is a lot more work to be done.  And let’s face it, no solution will be ideal.  These are unprecedented circumstances, in uncertain times.  We’ll need to continue to face these obstacles together and be mindful that things cannot be ‘typical’ for now.  But remember, anything that comes our way is temporary and we are strong.  We will persevere!

One last really important piece of information - if you have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk for COVID-19 and/or that condition causes you overwhelming anxiety about an in-person return to work for September, please email Debbie Rifkin as soon as possible and please follow-up with medical documentation. We will be working collaboratively to

address and find solutions to the most susceptible portions of our membership.  The following link provides very helpful resources on workplace accommodations for ADA compliance:

Please reach out to your Building Reps. with any questions you may have about reopening. Your Union Officers will be in constant contact with them to address your concerns.

As always, your dedication to the children of Levittown is extraordinary, and your concerns are valid.

There are more challenging days ahead.  It is an honor to be representing you during these difficult times.

Be well & safe,