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Let’s move our schools towards closure. Steps teachers can take now

March 15, 2020 pm31 1:11 pm

NYC’s Mayor is foot-dragging. Leadership is required, and none is offered.

The Centers for Disease Control revised its guidance. NYC is not complying with CDC guidance.

The CDC recommends a school with a case to be closed 2-5 days for cleaning. We are closing for 1 day. And apparently finding excuses to skip schools which should be cleaned.

The CDC recommends, where community spread is minimal to moderate (NYC may be moderate) to use social distancing strategies, like limiting how many kids are in the hallway at one time. The CDC is national. They don’t offer social distancing recommendations for the subway. How could they?  At my school, most kids arrive by subway.

The CDC recommends, where community spread is substantial (we are getting there), closing schools for eight weeks.

This strategy will “flatten the curve” and reduce the amount by which our healthcare system is overloaded.

What can we, teachers, do?

Lobby –


  • Coordinate with your administration. Create a plan for an orderly shutdown. Choose a date you will be ready.  (if it is not Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, try again)
  • Make plans to post assignments online.  Or make packets.
  • Make provisions for kids without computer access, if necessary. Telephone calls?  Texting images?  Pick up protocol?
  • Make plans for homework. Online submission?  Other?
  • Make plans to suspend in-person tests. Please.  Skip testing. Or on-line tests?  Or take-home tests?
  • Make plans to offer leniency on grades, or to skip reporting for a marking period. Final grades have to be done – but SKIP the MARKING PERIOD GRADE – doesn’t that make sense?

Support your union / ask for your union’s support

  • Make the calls they ask you to make. Sign the petitions.
  • Tell them we need to force the mayor’s hand.
  • Tell your District Rep, your Borough Rep, your VP, the officers that your school is ready to close, or the date your school will be ready to close.
  • Tell your reps that the Mayor’s hand must be forced, and that we are willing, standing together, to do so.

Sick out?

  • There is discussion and planning swirling about.
  • I do not think this is a good idea today.
    • It is illegal. Members would face financial penalties.
    • We need an orderly shut-down, not an ad hoc one.
    • And we need to work with parents/children/community. This could blindside them.
  • But a sick out, or other illegal action may be necessary to force the mayor’s hand. I am telling my UFT reps this. If the mayor gives us no choice, I am willing to take whatever steps are necessary to overrule him and correct course.
  • Me, my family, my coworkers, my students, their parents, and the entire city deserve nothing less.
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