Friday, March 13, 2020

Close New York City Schools Now

Broadway is dark. The city has restricted gatherings of 500 people or more.  We are now holding parent teacher conferences remotely because the DOE has deemed it too risky for parents to visit our schools.

Several schools are closed because students have tested positive. But very few people have been tested at all. A woman went to the ER to get tested, was not tested, and got a 10K bill for that service. We don't know who's carrying the virus, and we aren't getting a whole lot of help finding out.

Here's what I know. If parents deserve consideration, if it's too risky for them to come to our school building, it's too risky for our students to come in. If it's too risky for students to come in, it's too risky for staff to come in.

It's odd. $300 a seat Broadway theater goers need to be protected. Evidently they are more fragile than the 1.1 million New York City schoolchildren we serve. I guess they are presumed to be tough. I also guess they are presumed to be mostly strong. Maybe they are. I hear that young people mostly have few to no symptoms. Of course I hear many things, and the so-called experts on TV are not consistent.

Here's the thing, though. When my young students go home, they don't go home to homes full of 16-year-olds. They go home to all sorts of people. They have brothers and sisters who are infants. They have grandparents who are elderly. They regularly interact with people who are at risk.

I was not sure about what we should do until yesterday. Maybe we are blowing this thing up out of proportion. Who knows how many people carry the virus? We have done scant to no testing. We don't know exactly what proportion of people get sick. But you read about young doctors dying in China, and you have to question whether it's just another flu strain.

Here's what I know. If it's too dangerous to open Broadway theaters, it's too dangerous to open NYC schools. They need to close now. It's unconscionable for the mayor and chancellor to say or do otherwise.
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