Land of state that making decisions for America’s largest public school system during a pandemic is no easy task.
Eight weeks ago, public schools in New York City reopened to approximately 300,000 children one to three days a week, while another 800,000 continued to “learn at a distance” on the Internet. The partial reopening was a big step forward, after all public schools in the city closed on March 15 and remained closed for the remainder of the school year. The distance learning that was implemented by around 1,800 schools in the city’s five boroughs was spotty at best and a disaster at worst, especially failing to meet the needs of the city’s most vulnerable students. It took weeks to get tablets and laptops in the hands of the city’s poorest students. The technical support of the city’s education department was quickly overwhelmed. About one in ten New York public school students need remedial lessons during the summer to make up for lost ground during the interrupted school year.
And even when the technology has worked as expected, any parent can tell you that the classroom conducted entirely through Zoom and other screen-based communications is a poor substitute for interacting in person with a teacher in a classroom. Adults find it difficult to concentrate during several hours of Zoom meetings; that’s a lot to ask of elementary, middle and high school students.
Families in New York City are stuck with this mediocre substitute for the foreseeable future. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday he had no choice but to shut down public schools in the city until further notice and return to online learning as the percentage of tests returning positives in the city had exceeded its 3% red line threshold. . This is the lowest threshold of any public school system in the country. It probably won’t shock you that United Teachers’ Federation president Michael Mulgrew thinks the city has the fastest trigger for closing throughout the country is fine.
By Blasio set this threshold at the end of July, and he has all the authority he needs to change it. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that anything below 5 percent represents the “lowest level” of risk of significant transmissions in schools, and that anything below 20% always represents a “lower risk” of significant transmissions in schools. Governor Andrew Cuomo, last seen yelling at reporters and touring books touting how he beat the pandemic, set the state threshold at 9%.
SARS-CoV-2 is safer for children than for adults, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe; a small percentage of children develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Most have recovered, but not all. Children can carry the virus and have the potential to unknowingly spread it to all adults they meet, including teachers, principals, administrative staff, janitors – some of whom fall into high-risk categories .
But so far, the evidence is that schools are not the cause of the rise in positive tests in the city. Every month, test partners in town randomly select staff and students in grades 1 to 12: “The number of people to be tested will depend on the size of the school, but will be comprised of 10-20% of a school’s population each month, including students and staff.”
the New York Times reported this week that “random testing since October has produced a positivity rate of only 0.17%.” Not 17 percent; 17 hundredths of 1 percent. New York City could have coronavirus issues, but those issues aren’t due to schools. From this perspective, the closure of schools seems absurd.
Unless you are old enough to have survived the 1918 pandemic, our children are going through something completely different from anything we have known. Everyone WHO studies mental health in the children is survey the alarm; it’s not just fear, stress and anxiety, it’s isolation. As long as we can bring children safely in front of teachers and interact with each other again, we must do so. Our children must not pay the price for ideological differences from adults, for fear of lawsuits or the need to appease major urban constituencies such as teachers’ unions.
“You want to make sure that you are sensitive and that you are doing all you can to protect children and protect teachers, because you are indirectly protecting other people,” Dr Anthony Fauci said on CNN Thursday night. “Having said that, my feeling is that the default (is) to keep schools open, if you can.” This is why much of Europe has kept schools openeven at the cost of certain more severe measures targeting the adult population. Additionally, many private American schools have maintained classroom instruction, with little evidence to show that this caused serious consequences.
Risk is an inescapable aspect of life. The job of responsible adults is to figure out how to responsibly mitigate it.