Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Yet Another Life-Altering Email from the Chancellor


Dear Colleagues, 

Seven months after your endless caterwauling forced us to close our school buildings, this morning we began welcoming our  3-K, Pre-K, and District 75 students back for in-person learning. I’ll be sitting here in my office making phone calls, ordering take out, and watching YouTube videos. I have people to do work for me. It’s the best!

Today’s beginning of the reopening process marks a the third time we’ve tried this, which has been a huge disaster not only for the public perceptions of Blaz and me, but also for the more than 400,000 families who look to our schools to anchor their children’s lives. If they don’t get sick, die, or transmit the virus to their families, and manage to survive, I keep clinging to the hope that all of this stuff we pull off at the very last minute—will make our children’s lives better. 

It is also a moment to congratulate all of you noisy bastards for publicizing every damn mistake Blaz and I have throughout this entire ordeal. Maybe that’s why we drove you to the verge of striking, and condemned you to the utter terror you’d feel returning, particularly considering the loss of nearly 80 of our colleagues.  From our luxurious, well-ventilated Tweed offices with multiple air conditioners and purifiers, things look pretty good for us, so we still can’t be bothered with your petty concerns.

Yet through all of our indifference, your restraint is remarkable: no one has thus far bombed our offices or, to the best of my knowledge, burned us in effigy; even as we’ve still failed to hook up more than 300,000 students with devices and Internet connections; and while we pulled off successful creation of Regional Enrichment Centers for children of front-line workers; we’ve wasted thousands of hours of work and neglected countless details to enable New York City schools to safely reopen starting today, as opposed to a month ago. Hey, I did nothing from March until August and I still have my job. How many of you can pull that off?   

Without question, many big challenges remain, and we have no plans whatsoever but to twiddle our thumbs and hope some of you stop calling 311,. But you and your frigging colleagues do not only that, but also call journalists to compel us to deal with the safety of everyone in our buildings, which are still dilapidated and crumbling due to decades of neglect. Hey, we didn’t start it, man, we just continued the proud position.

Because of your incessant nagging, millions of Personal Protective Equipment items have been distributed to our schools. Extraordinary efforts have been taken to assure safe levels of ventilation in the classrooms that are reopening. Many sticks and toilet paper was sacrificed in this process. Your frigging union has forced us to do testing, which will continue throughout the school year, perhaps at the expense of gala luncheons. We have developed clear protocols for social distancing, face covering, handwashing, and staying home when we experience illness. And while those protocols are stolen from a million others who thought of them before we did, I myself wear a Hazmat suit and go through several spray detectors before a specially sanitized robot dresses me in Brooks Brothers, Florsheims, and $200 ties. I sit there for several hours. Afterward, I pass through the machines, get back in my jeans and t-shirt, and  go out with my guitar and sing El Rey on the street for tips. Beats working. 

As we look forward to the return of our elementary school students next Tuesday, September 29, and middle- and high-school students next Thursday, October 1, the sense of excitement and butterflies we have every opening day is no doubt amped up this year. But If you can get your hands on the right drugs, that won’t bother you at all. Works for me, anyway.

In unity,

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