LETTER: Former Teacher Concerned with Health of Schools During COVID-19

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Editor,

The Watertown Public Schools have had unsafe buildings for years. The school Administration and Town officials since spring of 2017 have denied, deflected, or ignored-the concerns of Watertown parents, faculty and students.

The goal of creating safe buildings has been our petitioners goal from the start. Please read our petition to learn more about W.P.S. building conditions and the years of asbestos compliance violations. https://www.change.org/p/mark-sideris-asbestos-and-other-dangers-in-the-watertown-public-schools

I’d add that our petition group thinks all of this takes on a more immediate importance given the short-term latency effects of the COVID-19 virus.

Administrators said they will have over 300 air purifiers for classrooms, but they said recently they have not all come in. I can attest that while working in W.P.S. I had medical accommodations for a respiratory disease that also required an air purifier and that took the administrators 1-1/2 years to provide it for me.

Respectfully,
Mary Russo
with John Barry

6 thoughts on “LETTER: Former Teacher Concerned with Health of Schools During COVID-19

  1. “short-term latency effects of the COVID-19 virus.” – what do the authors mean by this? it is not an accurate use of the concept of viral latency. It make abs no sense in this phrasing

  2. Meaning the state of existing but not yet developed for Covid is around 4 days after being exposed. The exposure to asbestos could be 30-40 years after being exposed. WPS are old sick buildings, including mold, mildew and poor ventilation.

  3. Asbestos and overall deterioration of schools and classrooms while an issue, is being used as leverage *excuse* to delay kids coming back.
    The town is obviously trying to address the problem mentioned here by building TWO NEW schools.

  4. This is not being published to make students not returning to school. Every parent should have all information to make what they think is their informed decision as parent or guardian to make their decision for their children to return to school when they feel fit. All information is great to have individual/independent for the parent/guardian to make their own decision.

    Facts to decide your own decisions. That is what our petition group wants. Please feel free to contact me Mary Russo or Owen Murphy we have
    been working together for facts. We agree to support each other. Best senior for all of our kids to return safely ,different based on their parents/guardians decision.
    This is not being placed to keep Your kids out of school. Your stuck the biggest is ventilation Mervid 13 Instead of Mervid 8 to keep airborne out of Control, droplets so they don’t travel further and longer indoors most higher then outside clean air.

    The administrators have had since March 202o to have accommodations put in place for all students even if it is in a different City,Town or any where in town since considering, most warmest Fall ever. Yet not utilizing outdoor learning experiences. Present review and speak out for your family. The best decision for your kids! Wanted time that our students could have been learning including socially. Weather wise we have areas and places students could have been transitioning back. Parents are teaching their own children and working (unfair)
    Speak up for your children, this is out of control. Please understand I am on the parents and children side as well as administrators not doing what should have been in place by September 2020.

    Respectfully,
    Mary Russo
    John Barry

  5. “Administrators said they will have over 300 air purifiers for classrooms, but they said recently they have not all come in.” These units are absolutely useless and a total waste of taxpayer’s money. Bringing them in makes people “feel better” and “safer.”

  6. WPS was non-compliant with Federal and State AHERA/Asbestos laws for over 30+ years. Only in 2016 because of Mary Russo was this discovered. WPS acknowledged their non-compliance, but were issued only written citations by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards. The AHERA Inspector in that 2016 report was cited and fined for improper inspection, which just so happened during an accreditation process. That accreditation report has no mention of asbestos in our schools. Just think about how long the cover-up has been going on and the financial/social ramifications of acknowledging that the buildings were unsafe. Would have WPS secured the same loans, bond rates, etc. to build new schools with full disclosure? Developer Dunlap has informed the public that the high school will cost over $10 million in asbestos removal. Don’t be fooled. COVID isn’t keeping kids out of our schools. It’s years of asbestos, mold, and poor air circulation.

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