What to Know
- Former students, teachers and staff who were at schools around the World Trade Center on or around 9/11 are being told about health problems
- The DOE said they will be sending letters to 19,000 former students enrolled at schools south of Houston Street
- The DOE and UFT are encouraging those who were nearby to apply to the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and World Trade Center Health programs
Two education groups are coming together to inform former students, teachers and staff who were at schools around the World Trade Center on or around 9/11 about the health risks associated with exposure.
The New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers said on Monday that they will be mailing letters to any public school student enrolled in September 2001 in the area of Ground Zero, informing them not only of the health risks that have been connected to breathing in the harmful dust and debris at the time, but also about programs for them to receive help.
Both the DOE and UFT are encouraging all those who were in the area to apply for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health program, a DOE spokesperson said. The letters, which will be sent to the students’ last known address, will also tell them where more information could be found.
The DOE said they will be sending letters to 19,000 former students enrolled at schools south of Houston Street. The UFT, which represents thousands of teachers in NYC, has already reached out to some of the staff who worked in those schools.
Both groups are hoping an enhanced social media campaign will help spread the word to more alumni. There will be a joint information event on October 28 to further raise awareness.
The decision to reach out to the former students, teachers and staff comes after a study found that first responders who arrived early or spent more time at the World Trade Center site after the 9/11 attacks seem to have a higher risk of developing heart problems — research that might have implications for any efforts to expand the list of health problems eligible for payment from a victim compensation fund.