Hempstead teachers and parents rally for all-remote start to school year

Teachers, parents and students rallied in Hempstead Monday for an all-remote start to the school year, saying it's not safe to go back to the classroom.
Dozens of teachers gathered outside Hempstead School Administrative offices to call for the changes - saying "remote until ready."
Classes are set to resume next Tuesday under a hybrid model with a mix of in-class and remote learning. Those rallying say the buildings are not ready and have grace concerns about teaching face to face with students amid the pandemic.
"Teachers have pictures of their classrooms where their vent systems are filthy ... ACs are not working, windows cannot be opened. Some classrooms don't even have windows and you expect us to come in and teach like everything's OK? It's not OK," says Jackson Annex Elementary School teacher Nicole Brown.
Brown and other teachers say ductwork at Hempstead High School is still pending approval, and that classrooms and nurse's offices lack safety equipment like hand sanitizers and plastic barriers.
"And it is really hurtful that even the district superintendent is not allowing their own Health and Safety Committee to conduct the walkthroughs to make sure every building is clean and serviced and ready for students and staff," says Brown.
The district refuted teachers' claims, saying, "Our reopening plan not only meets the standards as outlined by the State Department of Health and the State Education Department but was, and continues to be, informed by deep engagement with school community stakeholders including staff, parents, and students."
Still Brown is among those who still don't believe it.
"Just because there is fresh paint and shiny floors doesn't really tell what's underneath with everything that's going on with these buildings," says Brown.