The piece below is from the weekly UFT Chapter Leader update that covers this Wednesday's live proctoring for middle school teachers. The UFT does not mention COVID-19 or safety in their guidance to the chapter leaders for the Specialized High School Admissions Test nor the upcoming SAT.
UFT urges fairness in upcoming test proctoring assignments
The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) will be administered to all 8th-graders at their own middle schools in Districts 1-32, 75 and 79 on Wednesday, Jan. 27. In discussions with the DOE, the UFT emphasized the need to provide reasonable notice when assigning teachers to report to schools based on the number of students taking the exam. Teachers and other staff who have no responsibilities in relation to this admissions test should not have to report to the school building that day. Proctors will have per-session opportunities including a 90-minute training session and any proctoring time that extends beyond normal school hours. Private school, charter school and home-schooled students will take the SHSAT at central DOE sites on weekends along with any interested 9th-graders in public schools. The union’s Specialized High School Task Force in 2014 recommended universal administration for the SHSAT to expand opportunity and equity for students who have been historically underrepresented in these elite schools.
One UFT Executive Board member has some very important questions for the UFT President concerning live proctoring:
With regards to upcoming testing in middle and high schools, SHSAT and SAT, can you or (Mike) Sill clarify, members not on accommodation can be called in?
How much advance notice needs to be provided?
What are the COVID precautions in place for testing (masks, capacity per room, windows and COVID sample testing)?
how can we ensure DOE and administrators follow these guidelines?
What should members do if they report to proctor and there seems to be too many students per room and/or other COVID precautions are not being followed?
Are we, UFT, concerned that opening up for SHSAT and SAT puts our students and members at risk?
Administrators are concerned too. This is from Chalkbeat:
"During such a time, it is hypocritical to put student and staff health at risk and funnel school resources towards a test that is antithetical to the stated mission of creating more equitable schools,” more than a dozen principals wrote in an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “We implore you to reconsider this decision that places an undue burden on already stressed and overwhelmed schools.”
Later, we hear from the CSA Vice President:
The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union that represents principals and other school leaders, is worried about the short runway schools have been given to make sense of all the requirements detailed in multiple memos and a 73-slide, two-hour training.
“Under normal conditions, this would be a challenging task for school leaders and their staff,” said union Vice President Henry Rubio. “Given the pandemic, we have serious concerns about the city’s timetable, about the necessary staffing it requires, and the [education department’s] ability to conduct a safe and orderly administration of this exam.”
My advice has not changed all year. Follow DOE protocol outlined in DOE documents. Fail the COVID-19 health screening test if you are called into the school when you have any possible COVID-19 symptoms including a runny nose. You may not even have to lose CAR days.