Teachers at a CUNY high school nicknamed the “brick prison” say the school hasn’t made good on its promise to install an air filtration system that’s effective against the coronavirus during reopening, new court papers show.
The teachers are asking for an emergency court order as the Hunter College Campus Schools is slated to reopen for in-person classes on Sept. 29 and hasn’t installed — as per its reopening plan — HEPA air-filtration system, a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit alleges.
Instead, the K-12 Manhattan public school installed “untested air purifiers (not even a filter) whose efficacy against COVID-19 or other viruses is at best unknown,” claim the court documents brought by the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY — the labor union which reps the school’s faculty and lab technicians.
Meanwhile, the school has earned the nickname the “brick prison” because most of its classrooms don’t have windows, the courts papers claim.
“At bottom, Hunter is not filtering the air through a HEPA filter as its own Reopening Plan requires, but is instead attempting to purify it by use of a process that is neither widely used nor proven effective against COVID-19 or other airborne toxins,” the court papers charge.
The faculty is asking a judge to force the school to comply with its reopening plan to install a HEPA air filtration system and delay reopening until then, the court papers show.
Without a court temporary restraining order and injunction, “Hunter’s faculty and students will be subject to increased risk of serious illness or death related to [COVID-19] infection if they are forced to return to HCCS without compliance with the Reopening Plan,” the suit claims.
CUNY spokesman Frank Sobrino said, “We do not comment on pending litigation.”