New York teachers threaten strike if schools reopen without more COVID-19 testing
By Peter Szekely and Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City teachers on Wednesday threatened to strike or bring legal action unless the largest U.S.
COVID-19 testing" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/08-2020/20/2020-08-19T210936Z_1_LYNXNPEG7I1KT_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA-COLLEGE.jpg" alt="New York teachers threaten strike if schools reopen without more COVID19 testing" width="300" height="225" />
By Peter Szekely and Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City teachers on Wednesday threatened to strike or bring legal action unless the largest U.S. school district implements a more rigorous COVID-19 testing plan and other safety measures before reopening schools next month.
The warning by the United Federation of Teachers, which represents the city's 133,000 public school teachers, could delay Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to provide a mix of in-classroom and online learning from Sept. 10.
"The minute we feel that the mayor is trying to force people in to a situation that is unsafe... we go to court, we take a job action," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said during a briefing, adding that a "job action" could include a strike.
Asked about Mulgrew's comments while touring a school in Brooklyn, de Blasio responded: "Look, any union leader who talks about doing something illegal should really think twice about what he's saying."
He was referring to a New York state law that bars public employees from striking or engaging in sickouts.
The mayor said city officials would continue working with the union on the reopening and insisted that all facilities would be safe, adding: "We're going to keep moving forward to get schools ready for our kids."
De Blasio has said the district will use a blended learning plan of part remote, part in-person, with a recommendation that students and staff get tested at least once a month, sit six feet apart and wear masks on school buses.
Some U.S. schools and universities got off to a faltering start in reopening campuses this week. In several cases, spikes of positive COVID-19 tests administered to returning students and staff forced schools to delay or scupper plans for classroom instruction and limit students to online learning.
The University of Notre Dame in Indiana and Michigan State University rolled back their plans for in-person classes on Tuesday following a surge of positive test results. Notre Dame pushed back classes by two weeks and Michigan switched to remote learning for the term.
COLLEGE TOWNS NERVOUS
Residents of college towns have voiced concerns about flare-ups in cases once students return.
Three towns in Connecticut, where the infection rate has recently hovered below 1%, urged state health officials to enforce strict social distancing measures for college students arriving from areas with higher infection rates.
Middlebury College in Vermont has told students to "pack light" when returning to campus and have an evacuation plan in the event of an outbreak.
"The town of Middlebury does not have the infrastructure to cope with a massive outbreak that starts on campus," wrote student and local resident Henry Ganey in a letter published in The Middlebury Campus newspaper this week.
At Tulane University in New Orleans, students were invited back to campus this week but were told they could be expelled or suspended for hosting large gatherings.
"All parents have worries both about the pandemic and whether all of these precautions will ultimately be successful. But it seems that the Tulane community is bringing the right amount of intentionality and preparation to this," said Elizabeth Baker, a lawyer from Maplewood, New Jersey, who dropped off her daughter last week.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter, Peter Szekely, Jonathan Allen and Barbara Goldberg; Writing by Gabriella Borter and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.