O-N BOCES responds to lawsuit dismissal from teachers’ union over Covid-19 precautions

Posted 13 November 2020 at 10:06 am

(Editor’s Note: The Orleans/Niagara BOCES Teachers’ Association last month filed a lawsuit against the Orleans/Niagara BOCES and Dr. Clark Godshall, the district’s senior superintendent. The union said the BOCES didn’t adhere to Covid-19 protocols for social distancing, face coverings, health screenings, cleaning and disinfection for in-person learning at instructional sites within the district’s coverage area.)

Press Release, Dr. Clark J. Godshall, Senior District Superintendent of Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – The New York State Supreme Court dismissed the BOCES Teachers Union’s lawsuit against the Orleans/Niagara BOCES, finding that NYSUT has no private right of action for injunctive relief under the New York Labor Law because review precedents were not fulfilled.

Specifically, a Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) Bureau inspection has not occurred, and the PESH Bureau has not determined or notified the New York State Department of Labor that there is imminent danger to the safety and/or health of employee(s).

The Orleans/Niagara BOCES follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the New York State Education Department, the New York State and local health departments, and their medical advisors for COVID-19 protocols.

The O/N BOCES has all of the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), expending more than an additional $330,000 to ensure that our sites are adequately supplied. The BOCES has reconfigured instructional class space to adhere to social distancing and facial mask requirements. Additional staff were also added.

We are following mandates that New York State continues to issue for schools to remain open.  These requiring that individuals maintain physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and required health screenings.

The O/N BOCES will continue to carefully monitor and implement safety guidelines at our sites. We recognize the ongoing pandemic is stressful for all involved.  We will continue to work diligently to implement and enforce our safety plans that make the physical, academic, social, and emotional well-being of all students, staff and families our top priorities.

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