The New York State United Teachers on Monday unveiled a website meant to help people track COVID-19 health and safety concerns in schools.
The website, NYSUTCovidTracker.org, allows users to search by school district using a map of the state that highlights confirmed coronavirus cases.
The umbrella labor group said the website is meant to be a crowdsourcing tool for reports of health and safety violations that have been identified by staffers, parents, and community members.
“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.
“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.”
The website is being made public amid growing concerns surrounding the virus and increasing cases in parts of western New York and the Syracuse area. Those areas are now under a "yellow" zone designation requiring COVID-19 testing for students and teachers.
Many schools in New York reopened in September or October to in-person learning, but also with a remote learning option.
“Communities should receive not only real-time COVID-19 infection data, but also a fuller picture of the issues educators are raising with their administrators,” Pallotta said. “We must continue to err on the side of caution. Identifying hot spots can help us do so.”