ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement today regarding the latest school reopening guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“Today’s CDC guidance on safely operating schools during the pandemic confirms what New York educators have been saying all along. We all believe students learn best in classrooms, but that must be done in the safest way possible. Masks must be mandatory, there should be six feet of social distancing, schools need adequate ventilation systems and hygiene protocols must be strictly followed. These are the steps that help build confidence in local reopening plans.

“The CDC also makes clear that COVID testing for students and staff has an important role to play in limiting the spread of the virus in schools. Here in New York, that is not happening like it should. A NYSUT survey of local unions found that this week fewer than 60 of 700 school districts around the state — less than 10 percent — are testing students and staff for coronavirus. That is unacceptable.

“Now that the CDC has reaffirmed what it takes to safely operate schools, the state and federal governments must provide the financial resources districts need to conduct comprehensive testing programs without having to sacrifice any of the COVID-related and routine academic supports.”

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.