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,

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