Sunday, March 15, 2020
My Idea To Force The City To Close Schools
UFT President Michael Mulgrew has decided to sue the City to close the schools to protect the health of students and to their families. Already on Friday the school attendance was only 58% and expect that number to go down further this week. In fact, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and the City Council Speaker, Cory Johnson want to close the schools. In addition, Borough President of Queens have told parents to not send their children to school. Finally, Governor Cuomo suggested that the City close the schools but is leaving it up to the Mayor. What a coward!
The Mayor's reluctance to close the schools is because he admitted there is no alternative plan if he closes the schools since the City treats the schools as a place for giving students food and a babysitting service. In reality, students throw out most of the food they obtain in the school cafeteria. However, one would think the Mayor had six years to develop a plan and didn't.
Teachers have suggested a "sickout" on Wednesday but the union leadership has not supported it. Therefore, I see few teachers participating in the sickout and lose two days pay because of the Taylor Law.
I suggest that a large comprehensive high school, like Francis Lewis High School staff all wear surgical masks to school and call the press to cover them. The students are mainly Asian and culturally are susceptible to the influence of their teachers. Obviously, if the staff is wearing masks, how many students will then wear surgical masks, if they show up at all to school.
Francis Lewis High School has 4,557 students and just try moving on the second floor between 4th and 5th periods without touching people (see picture above). Its next to impossible to keep a social distance most of the school day and is a potential breeding ground for various viruses including the cronavirus. Moreover, with Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties closing their schools, how many teachers will actually show up in Queens and the Bronx since their own children need to be supervised. Finally, of the 16 major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Diego who have closed their schools only NYC is increasingly being an exception by keeping their schools open.
Update: Mayor Bill de Blasio has finally succumbed to the overwhelming pressure and is closing New York City schools on Monday and will not reopen until April 20th at the earliest. Teachers must report to school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for training.