Monday, November 30, 2020

UFT Executive Board November 30, 2020--On Reopening

UFT Secretary LeRoy Barr--Holiday Toy Drive--Please contribute at Accepting donations up until December 16th.


UFT President Michael Mulgrew--What we've done in NYC has been remarkable. We had asked from beginning for borough or district based targeting. City thought we were trying to close system. Six communities, in fact, caused system to shut down. State did not have a plan when we began. Needed one in October. We could not close, though some communities were at 9 or 10%. te came up with yellow, orange and red plan. 

We don't know what's going to happen this winter. We are safer because we learned a lesson, How do we make sure we're keeping our schools safe? We need a much more aggressive stance on testing. We were first system in country to have testing program, but we wanted targeted surveillance testing system, testing 20% a week. 

Why were schools so safe? Testing was just part. We did our jobs well, followed social distancing, used signage, PPE, had teams. That is the main things that's kept schools safe. Testing is an early warning system. We need to know if COVID comes from inside or outside. We need to know if there are non-linked cases, which could make schools spreading vehicles.

We asked for testing on weekly basis, Consent form is now required, Of course there may be medical accommodations. But situation room must continue as it is. These rooms closed 311 schools before we went into shutdown. This either isolated people correctly, or would shut school down with two or more non-linked cases.

If this stays in place and we get geographic testing from state, we have a more effective system. We'd had schools open in districts with high rates. City now following both state plan and new aggressive testing plan. This gives us layers to keep schools extremely safe. If school is in orange or red zone, school can test out and become open again. 

State is lowering testing on rest of state. Was important we had testing agreement to move forward as a school system. Upstate NY testing capacity is extremely low and large numbers of schools are closing. State trying to establish a system like ours.

In state plan, there's a carve out for NYC.  If NYC school tests 2% or above it must automatically shut down. We have layered in plans for a great level of protection. We want to isolate and keep communities safe and also have an early warning system. 2% is our shutdown number.

State's program is still 3%, but 3% by community. Before, community could be 10 or 11%, and would stay open. At this point, I believe this plan can give us protections we need as long as overall rate doesn't get too high. LA just shut down at 22%. What were they waiting for?

We can't make a mistake. People think we're crazy for using low numbers. We don't want thousand of people getting COVID when everything stays open. It's not safe to open schools in states or cities at 15%, but we want neediest children to have access to school. Our neediest children have definitely suffered. When you talk to children and see problems, it's not about a learning loss, but a developmental loss. That's where we are. I don't know if we'll get over 5th grade. We'll see.

We still have very low numbers in much of the city, but some areas are outliers. Mayor needs to go to teacher school. He can't explain anything without confusing everyone. I don't know what he's saying, and I know what he's talking about. He's frequently mistaken. 

We'll open next week, unless something happens. If it does, we'll switch. Everything has someone who wants to debate it. Press doesn't understand these systems, but contDOinues to write about it. There are documents and they can read them. It doesn't matter what the governor says. If you can read, you can see it.

I know that as we move forward, and vaccine program looks real, we could see numbers move down. As numbers go down, people will think everything is safe. That's why it's important we keep numbers. There will be spikes, micro-clusters. We now can shut them down and do what we need to do. This should get us where we need to be, but we've learned a lot. 

There will be no more games. If you don't have a consent form, you're not going in.

Five day schooling--City's biggest mistake was asking parents to contact them to opt out. Should've asked them to opt in. Schools were programmed for over 700K, but we had only about 260K. Lots of schools had chairs for every one of 700K anyway. What we're saying now that schools know how many students they have, is they may program only children in school. It's a low number, 160K on Monday. 

We know DOE can't handle blended learning. If we can follow guidelines, then that model can work. Biggest benefit of being in NYC is our testing capacity. Very low outside of NYC, particularly upstate. As we do this reprogramming, we hope safety piece will be easier. 

There is a lot of bad info out there.


Tentative date for 6-8? No

Operational complaints being resolved much faster. 85% deal with blended learning. That is a mess. With more schools out of it, we will be better off. 

Debbie Poulos--Resolved 600 of about 1,000 before Thanksgiving. Close to resolving 90 more now.

Mayoral control--Never spoke about that. Being used by some reporters. Our position is there should be checks and balances on everyone. That is official union position.  

Primary caregivers also approved until June.

I hope this brings some clarity. PPE, class sizes, social distancing still remain in effect. We'll see where it goes. We will do everything in our power to make sure there are no mistakes. We're close to finish line, but key is to get there safely. Doctors say we're uber-aggressive in testing and protocols and that's how we'll keep everyone safe.

When elementary and D75 students go back, we hope what we do today will keep them safe. Some people explain things politically and not clearly. I wish they would go to teacher school, present content in clear and precise way, and some people lack that skill set.

Q--People in red zones travel across boroughs. This makes people nervous.

A--Now they're subject to 20% random testing, and that should help.

I hope you enjoyed yourselves, at keast to some degree, on Thanksgiving. We will get through this together.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Chancellor Reveals His Re-opening Plan

 Dear Colleagues,
I hope you had a restful Thanksgiving holiday this year. You’ll need it, because I’m about to arbitrarily and capriciously change my reopening plan, again, with no consultation whatsoever with your union.
This has been an eventful and challenging year on many levels. We’ve managed to double the infection rate in the city. Worse, parents are practically burning us in effigy for honoring our agreement to close at 3%. Safety is one thing, but bad publicity is another, and I’m gonna need a new gig once Blaz is term limited next year. I don’t suppose he can just buy another term like Bloomberg did.

Please know that we pay you valuable lip service for the tireless work you have done, and please disregard our efforts to pick your pockets to the tune of a billion dollars we’ve owed you for over a decade now. We’ve given you half, right? That’s better than nothing.
Working in partnership, the City and the State, we are releasing plans today to re-open school buildings with enhanced weekly testing for COVID-19 in place for students and staff. To re-open our schools successfully and with sufficient testing support, we’ve decided to ignore the 3% rate we just closed with, because we hate it when we are criticized, and therefore we’re gonna use the state program. That way, hopefully, everyone will just blame Cuomo.
·         Students in 3-K, Pre-K and grades K through  5 will return to in-person learning beginning on Monday, December 7.
o   This includes all students in those grades. However, it doesn’t include any students not in those grades.  
o   This excludes schools currently located in State-designated Red or Orange Zones. You can see if your school is in a Red or Orange Zone by asking your magic 8-ball.  
·         Students in all grade levels in District 75 schools will return to in-person learning beginning on Thursday, December 10.
o   This excludes schools currently located in State-designated Red or Orange Zones. Again, magic 8-ball.
·         Students in grades 6 through 12 (outside of District 75 schools) will continue to learn remotely until further notice. Their parents seem not to complain as loudly as elementary parents, because they don’t require babysitters.
We have given no thought whatsoever as to how we will provide enough teachers to send all the elementary students to school, nor to as how we will social distance them. But these things tend to work out one way or another, we hope. Anyway, students who selected remote only instruction will remain in remote only.
As always, our first commitment is to health and safety for all of our DOE community above and beyond everything else, and that’s why we’re opening schools while leaving Broadway theaters closed. Your efforts have made it possible to send you out to the field while protecting the fragile asses of $800 Hamilton ticket holders.
Here is how we collectively will keep them open:

Weekly Testing: All schools will have 20% of students and staff randomly tested on a weekly basis, maybe.
·         Student Consent: All students in grades 1 and higher are required to provide consent for testing by their first scheduled in-person learning day. Families can submit consent using NYCSA or this updated paper form.  Students who do not submit consent will be asked politely to transition to remote only learning. Those who do not consent will receive a succession of strongly worded letters, worded more strongly still right through June.
·         Staff Consent: All staff in UFT and CSA are required to provide consent by the first day they report to their school building. Staff from other unions haven’t agreed to that, so I hope they don’t get sick.

Situation Room: The Situation Room remains schools’ main point of contact for any situations, and if any situations occur they should be situated in the Situation Room. Situation rooms are not simply for sitting, and those wishing to simply sit should be situated in a Sitting Room. If too many situations occur, and Situation Rooms are saturated, the situations shall be moved from the saturated Situation Rooms to the unsaturated Sitting Rooms, and all sitting shall be done in unsaturated Non-Sitting Rooms.  

Travel & Gatherings: For the holidays, the City recommends that employees refrain from traveling, talking, or meeting with anyone. All travel shall be done by those of us who work at Tweed, so you won’t need to see anyone. In any case, we may just ask you to work over the holidays. That way, when they finally make us pay for Easter week last year, we’ll still have an extra week of work we made you do.
Thank you for continuing to work through our never-ending changes. I realize it appears we’re bending to public pressure and disregarding safety, but that’s not the case at all. I’ve got plastic shields all over my office, three air conditioners and a MERV filter, and all DOE employees at Tweed roll around in plastic bubbles. I am excited it’s you welcoming back many of our students to in-person learning, as opposed to me, and I am so grateful that none of us at Tweed are doing any actual interaction with students. I know our students and families are too.
In unity,

Saturday, November 28, 2020

I'm Thankful, and We're Lucky

COVID is a plague, and it strikes at the whole world. People are sick, People are dying. The national government is even more inept than the city government, and that's saying something. 

It's hard to conceive of a national government that would ignore a plague because they originally saw it affecting only blue states, but given their incredible mendacity, it's easy to believe. Nonetheless, they plodded on with no national program even as it moved to red states, so even if it isn't willful cruelty, it's absolute ineptitude.

NY suffered from COVID. I know people who've died from it. I know people who've lost parents from it, and who may spend the rest of their lives wondering whether or not they brought it into their parents' homes. All over the country, there are millions of Americans left jobless by the pandemic. Idiot Trump looks at the stock market and ignores suffering Americans, many of whom vote for him anyway.   They wear those red caps and hope he'll move us back to the good old white supremacist days, or something. 

Hey, online learning sucks. I've been doing it since March and I don't love it. I don't love not really getting to know my students. I don't love missing interaction with my colleagues. I don't love not doing what I'm born to do. For my money, masked and socially distanced live classes are even worse, horrifying to contemplate and take part in. If I can't walk around and interact with students I may as well be online.

Until we get a vaccine, online learning is the best option we have. We're lucky to have it. Where would we be if we didn't have this technology? What would we be doing right now? Would we be having outdoor classes as temperatures approach the 30s? Writing compositions with our mittens on? I don't know. Given the outrageous lack of direction on the part of the chancellor and mayor, I can't imagine we'd have carried that off. 

Thanksgiving has passed, but I'm grateful to still have a job right now. I know many of my fellow Americans are not so fortunate. It may not sound like much, but it's a lot. For all that I complain about, I'm grateful to be here. Many of my complaints seem irrelevant when I look at businesses that can't stay open. Of course that too is largely the fault of Trump and his GOP thugs controlling the Senate. A whole lot of other countries managed to aid citizens in trouble, and we could've done the same. This, they label "socialism." In the United States, we give tax breaks to those who least need them but turn our faces from those truly in need. 

I'm grateful to have collective bargaining, something our brothers and sisters in red states haven't gotten yet. In those states, teachers have started running for office, and while they're off to a slow start, there's hope. I'm grateful to have tenure, so some crazy administrator can't fire me just for being a pain in the ass. I'm grateful for the ability to be a pain in the ass, and I'm grateful I can freely represent the interests of UFT members. I'm grateful my colleagues have trusted me with that privilege.

It seems like a low bar to just have a job, and at times it is. If I were in trouble for no good reason, and a rep told me, "Well, at least you still have your job," I'd be angry. I'd think it was that rep's job to help me out of trouble, which of course it would be. But no rep, no DR, no union president is going to pull us out of COVID.

I'm hopeful, that with a vaccine on the horizon, I'll get to teach my students, all of them, face to face by April or May. I know that's asking a lot. But I'll be first in line for that vaccine, or as far ahead of it as I can get. (Now if you should see me with an extra arm growing out of my head, don't follow in my footsteps.)

But inept, incompetent, juvenile racist and xenophobe-in-chief is on his way out. Joe Biden was not my first choice for President, but I have a whole lot more faith in him than I ever did in Trump. Hopefully we can crawl out from under this pandemic, and hopefully we can raise up the Americans who were ignored by Trump and the sub-human slime in the GOP Senate.

Meanwhile, I'm grateful to be a teacher, I'm grateful to be in NY State, and I'm grateful to be union in a place and time where that really means something. Of course we should and will work to improve things, but we are luckier than many. That's something to be very grateful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

NY Times--Worst Education Reporting Anywhere

I should know not to be surprised when the NY Times runs opinion pieces posing as news stories. It's a hallowed tradition. The first time I noticed it was in the 1980s, when we got the February break that every other school statewide already had. The Times reported that this was detrimental to working parents. How would they take care of the children if school buildings closed? 

What the Times didn't know was that DOE didn't plan to open the schools that week. They were going to use the week for PD and have only UFT come in. So canceling the break wouldn't have helped these parents. Every working teacher in the city knew this, but the Times didn't.

We voted to authorize a strike sometime back in the early 90s. I remember being quite freaked out over it because I'd just gotten a mortgage and the Taylor Law would've placed me in fairly dire straits. Crossing a picket line wasn't in my DNA, so that would've been a big issue for me. I was pretty surprised to read, in the NY Times, that the strike vote was just for show and we wouldn't strike. That wasn't my feeling, and it wasn't what I was hearing from colleagues  This Times writer, evidently, had consulted a crystal ball rather than bothering to consult with those of us on the ground. And this ran, of course, in the news section.

Now, the tradition continues, I look at the Times analyzing the spot the mayor is in, and I see commentary posing as a news story. Of course de Blasio is in a tough spot, but it's not like that hasn't been the case ever since his  myopic and borderline delusional presidential bid. His DOE failed to plan for months after the debacle of school closings, and opened with a hybrid plan that had more holes in it than Swiss Cheese. People tell me the city paid someone millions to devise this plan. I'm a lowly teacher, and I could see what was wrong with it immediately.

So the Times reporter first finds someone from Educators for Excellence, the Gates-funded group that yearns to strike for more work for less pay. They may portray themselves otherwise, lately, but if you think teachers need protections like tenure, or actual power against vindictive supervisors, you might want to think twice before going to one of their pizza parties. And what do they get from E4E? They get a quote saying no one trusts the mayor. This is pretty much dog bites man.This notwithstanding, the entire concept of going to a group that really does not represent working teachers is bad reporting. Do anyone other than the NY Times (and Chalkbeat) really think E4E would do anything to imperil the Gates funding that keeps them afloat?

Next, the Times goes to the mayor, who says that educators want to be in schools. In one way, that's true. I think I speak for most of us when I say there's nothing I'd like better than going back to do my actual job. However, under current conditions, UFT viewpoints vary wildly. Mulgrew says at meetings that he gets a mix of comments, some wanting schools closed and others wanting them open. I believe that, but I certainly don't see it reflected in this story. In fact, there's absolutely no representation of teachers who think it's not safe enough to come back.

Underlining this is the Times' choice to interview a teacher from MORE, who speaks only of last March. I don't think anyone disagrees that the mayor screwed up royally by leaving schools open so long. Amazingly, the reporter doesn't bother to ask the MORE member about what's happening now. I can only assume that the reporter doesn't find that viewpoint newsworthy.

More to the point, the overwhelming majority of NYC students are not attending in the buildings. The Times reporter doesn't mention that, and doesn't appear to find it worthy of consideration. To me, this strongly suggests that New Yorkers don't trust the city school system to keep their children or families safe. That's significant, but not to the Times reporter, who writes this:

Parents spent days pleading with Mr. Cuomo to overrule the mayor and keep the schools open, and The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Cuomo spent last Wednesday looking for ways to allow the city to use different metrics to continue in-person instruction.

Which parents. though? Two-thirds of actual city parents chose not to send their kids in. This story seems to have erased those parents so completely they might not even exist. 

Of course, there is the obligatory attack on the UFT:

And the U.F.T., which supported the 3 percent number and encouraged the mayor to stick with it — despite a consensus view that the schools were operating relatively safely — is now facing fresh scrutiny from parents.

Again, which parents? Whichever parents they are much come from the minority that was sending their kids in. The fact is this union was the only major city union to have endorsed a school opening at all, and this happened despite a whole lot of members opposing it. Certainly MORE opposed it, though you wouldn't know that from this story. 

The 3% number was not created or negotiated by UFT. The 3% number represents the mayor acting in an abundance of caution, perhaps the best thing he's done during this entire crisis. It's better to stop at that bar than wait for it to explode skyward and become the disaster we faced last March. And yes, that's my opinion. This page is an opinion page. I won't pretend otherwise.

The Times, on the other hand, ran their piece as a news story. This story is clearly biased and belongs on the op-ed page. I'm not a journalist, but I know point of view when I see it. A lot of Americans do not, unfortunately. That's why people rely on Fox News and the NY Times education page, and that's nothing less than a tragedy for our country.

Monday, November 23, 2020

UFT Town Hall November 23, 2020

By special guest Mindy Rosier


UFT President Michael Mulgrew

Thank you for coming on. Thank you for all you are doing. I want to use today to explain what we are dealing with. We have a lot to cover. 

I really wanted to do this Town Hall this week because it's Thanksgiving. Be safe, follow advice of the medical professionals.  You all heard about instances of family gatherings and it spreads. 

When we first put our plan together, we also needed a plan in place to reopen. We fought for the cleaning, procedures, small class sizes, ple, we had guidance in place what would happen if the rates go up. 

There was no state plan until Oct. There are 2 different plans and its confusing. The difference is the city doesn't have the legal authority to shut businesses down. The state does. The city threshold was 3%. . The state is always recalculating. There are always two sets of numbers. They calculated things differently.  The state us right now a little lower in the city. A couple of weeks ago they were higher. 

 3 is the mayor's number. The epidemiologist said that was fine, though certain districts can shut the whole city down. 

We should have only plan. The state was closing schools at a very rapid pace in their system. We like it with the colors. Testing ramps up in yellow. Orange is when they start shutting things down and red nothing is working. 

The two plans look ridiculous to the public. Think of where we started. We came up with the plan and we have to follow the plan. The mayor did the right thing to follow this plan. But the state has a better plan. The city didn't want to do it this way. We knew it would be much better that if there was an area that's a problem,that area would close the schools of that area. The people in the schools, they are all doing their jobs keeping the schools safe. But we can't s control the community. We need to all work together. Schools won't stay safe if the rates go up. It is important we have a plan in place, having 2 plans do not make sense. The state did not have a plan before but the state is much more aggressive with testing. As we move thru this, there will be more challenges. Six or seven districts caused the whole system to shut down. The city plan was approved by the state. The state will continue to kove forward with testing and remote if necessary.  

Decisions need to be made to keep a of us safe and our families. These constantly changes, everything gets politicized. Vaccine info is looking good. We are going to see when this goes. When will we open? Everyone is getting very concerned and with traveling for Thanksgiving.  City expects the state to put the whole city in orange. We need to get the numbers down. That's the key to everything and its going to be tough.

Even when we do get back we need to be more aggressive with testing. Its not being followed the way it's supposed to. Mandated testing. My position, no one should enter the buildings without consent forms. My biggest fear now, somebody is going to make a mistake and others will be harmed. We need to make sure we keep people self all the way up to the vaccine. I want everyone to get thru this pandemic. 

As we get closer to the spring, its going to be very important to close down schools through microclosing. Moves at a faster targeted pace. We should only be looking at one plan. West NY's schools are closing left and right. 

I want to thank you all for doing such a phenomenal job keeping the schools. Everyone is doing above and beyond keeping everything at bay. We could probably write a book on opening a school during a pandemic.  We will reopen. We don't know when. The numbers will tell and right now it doesn't look good. 

Medical Accommodation:

We thought it was ridiculous for the doe to ask everyone to reapply. We sent them guidance.  They are going to recognize the accommodations. We don't have to go crazy trying to get a doc note especially it maybe getting crazy trying to get an appt. 

200 operational issues have been resolved. CL will schedule meeting with uft rep and doe rep to help solve problems. There is a lot of misinformation out there. 

When I'm looking at social media, we are our own little word, we communicate, there is nothing easy about what we are doing. Nothing. We were hit the hardest. It is not easy at all. When I see animosity of people going after others for what they are doing. The world that we live in now, the way people talk about each other. We need more respect and we need to respect each other. 

NBC would do this week in education and it would be a national week of bashing teachers and the unions. We fought and we won that battle 12 years. 

You can be remote with a ridiculous class size or in person with a mask. We need to respect each other. We had mayors who never thanked us for anything. We fought through all the nonsense.  There are no easy solutions but we got a lot done. We can't, we can't allow that horrible behavior that our enemies have done to us, to be done on each other. Things will eventually be better but it will probably not be the same. Please, be respectful to each other. This is a tough job. 

Evaluations: The state is saying its a collective bargaining is needed and we will get a team together and work quickly. . We expect standardized tests to be waived this year. There's no way to do this test appropriately.  Admins can visit. If anyone says that they are going to write things up, let us know.  There is nothing in agreement now. 

Budget: All the unions are trying to do cost saving . Thank God we have the no lay off clause. We are in remote. In diff schools systems, people are  losing their jobs. 

There is no help from Washington. Looking at Jan and Feb. Will the govt help us out of suffering? We are going to have tough years ahead of us and it comes down how the new administration works things out. Everything is going up, unemployment,  everyone is running out food. There will be a horrendous winter,  no money, food, can't pay rent.. There is going to be a very bad winter. We will see if we can help with food. We want to be front and center helping communities out. 

If you want to work in school, we expect the vaccine will be mandated but we will get to that bridge. Its going to be ugly. You all go above and beyond.  We got done so much. Attendance is low and the mayor put in the iot in period and there was a low response. Its under 350,000 students who opted in. 

We will be there to help our communities. Please, I want you all to give thanks for each other. 

Do not call on a Sunday to open on a Monday. We need to be able to gave time to shift. That's how the DOE likes to work but not us. This winter is a big challenge. Hopefully by next September we can have a party to celebrate that we did it. 


Q: Some people still haven't gotten any confirmation but the extension of the medical accommodations.  Is there anything anyone should be doing? 

Mike Sill: Their email system does not go out all at once. They go out in a rolling order. It takes several days. There are no exceptions except for those pregnant who has to reapply. Also, primary care givers are being extended.

Mulgrew: if you didn't get the info by Dec 7, call in. 

Q: I'm up for tenure this year. Whats going on with attaining tenure? 

M: Last yr the govt. put put guidance that no one would be harmed because of covid. We are assuming this will happen again this year. We are waiting for it to be official.  Hopefully by January.  We will keep everyone up to date. 

Q: I'm a CL and frustrated with class sizes that no one wants to listen. My members are insulted that money is being thrown at them. We are in District 3. It's at central now. I've made proposals. My staff is amazing. Nobody wants to listen to us.

M: I have consultation with the Chancellor tomorrow and you are now on the agenda. We will get back to you tomorrow. 

Q: You have become such an advocate and rockstar fighting for us. I really admire what you've been doing. I'm a senior member, 27 years teaching, any hope of an early incentive or retirement? 

M: We now have an early retirement legislature. During the fight of the lump sum we came up with legislation to push forward. This will also save the city money. If we get it pushed thru, then we negotiate with the city. This will be one of our priorities in Albany. 

All the unions are getting behind it. 

Q: Since everyone is remote and teachers are allowed to pick up stuff. Can they also teach in schools? 

M: I'll bring it up. All the schools are being cleaned again. The operational side of the doe has worked really well with us. I will ask.

Q: Is anyone considering elementary school s are in the neighborhood but the HS you travel all over the place. 

M: We don't have zoned HS here. Kids travel everywhere at the HS level. Attendance hasn't been that great. D75, early grades, are fine to open whenever they can safely and  open first. We'll see what the mayor says and in our conversations.  With D75 all the work you do, all the PPE, great work. It's the ppe that's the most important thing. So yes, we are having these conversations.  

Q: Whatever happened to the virtual content specialist?

M: We just finished it. The doe didn't want it. This was agreed to. Its a $12,500 stipend.

Q: What will it look for students who have not consented?

M: Pre K will not be tested. The doctors said that mandated testing would have to be done. The doe was doing wink wink with the testing. We had a lot of reports about testing not being done. When we reopen, we can't have this again. The consent must be there and ratcheted up and do weekly testing. The situation room has been really good.  There's no playback on how to do all of this in a pandemic. We shut down about 500 schools and if contact tracing wasn't being done, they couldn't open. But we want those consent forms done when we reopen. 

Q: Doe device issues. People are still waiting for devices and its a long wait. 

M: I wrote an editorial about this. I don't know ow why they didn't order the devices ahead of time. 

Q: circular 6; We are told that 8 period schools are 7 period schools so Circular 6 doesn't happen 

Sill: Not true.  

Q: I'm very upset and concerned about our students about housing, food, and anything else they need. What are we as a union going to do and what are we going to say to the mayor? 

M: At the end of Dec the non-eviction notices will lift and there will be evictions across the nation. The advocacy on the federal package will have to keep on. We are seeing the damage now, we understand this better than anyone. We will have lots of work to do because all of the damage. Everyone is hurting one way or another. The city will have a challenge with all the homelessness. We are tied into the community. The better we can make it for the students the better off they will be. Our member assistance program is swamped. We are all hurting.

Q: Teachers with young children, what is going on with Learning Bridges?

M: We may have to open our regional support centers again. The Learning Bridges, they made some adjustments but its been so frustrating.  They broke the cardinal rule, did not talk to the people who would be using it. Crazed at keeping kids where you live rather than where we work. Their hours didn't always work. Its not where it should be. Hopefully more changes can be done. 

Q: Because of MAP, I received so much support and thank you for that. Concerned about the virtual sizes are going to increase and in person will have less kids. 

M: We should take this period of time and reprogram where we can. See what makes sense. There's a Mayors' race coming, we are going to roll out our political plan in the next few weeks. How are you going to blow up the doe bureaucracy and make it so that our schools are supported? 

Q: If we expect the numbers are going up, why can't we say we will be closed thru January so parents can plan?

M: Should the schools remain remote till January? The mayor and gov don't want to make that call yet. I say if we go up to 4 after Thanksgiving, a decision has to be made. But we don't want to open and then close down again. A lot of conversations have to happen. We do not think the numbers will go down.  Doesn't make sense to have restaurants and bars open when schools are closed. 

Q: As we come into the holidays, can you encourage members to donate blood? Centers are so low. There are no school drives right now. Please encourage people to donate. 

M: You are 100% right. Nurses have told us these challengers are there. The blood issue is real. Its the right thing to do. We are going to help with the food, for coats, we are still figuring out how to get things done. We will figure out what we can do.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be safe! We can't forget who we are and respect each other. Things will get scary and frustrating. I want everyone to remain safe and to your families have a great Thanksgiving.