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Gov, Mayor, Chanc., Pres. – keep us all alive: shut us down now

August 5, 2020 pm31 10:32 pm

Today’s letter to Cuomo

(this is not by me, as you can tell from the opening line. The author is a teacher who raises important questions. She wrote similar letters to de Blasio, Carranza, and Mulgrew)

(The biggest question? Why not remote? Why not start work on it today? – jd)

Dear Governor Cuomo,

I have admired and respected your leadership during this pandemic, despite serious disagreements with many of your education policies, and I was counting on your reliance on science and good sense to prevail over plans for reopening school buildings. I was very disappointed by your message yesterday, which sounded much like an abdication of your responsibility, leaving to parents and schools the task of keeping COVID numbers down and people alive.

I have sent you numerous letters citing flaws and unresolved questions in NYC’s opening plans and begging you to allow teachers to do the best by our students and staff by spending August preparing to teach fully remotely. No plan put forward has begun to reassure teachers or parents that students and staff will be safe, or that hybrid mask-to-mask learning, which is FAR from face-to-face learning, is any better than fully remote instruction.

Schools have been reopening around the country and within days students and staff are sick. The University of Minnesota has demonstrated the lack of efficacy of open windows for ventilation. And ALL plans for safety go out the window when you have students taking off masks to eat together in classrooms or lunchrooms.

Not only is instruction while students are eating lunch ineffective (and no, it is not the same as grab and go breakfast which is also disruptive, because students are accustomed to and will need a reprieve during lunch), but it is inequitable and DANGEROUS to any staff in the room. Spending the day trying to teach fully masked students is risky enough, but spending time in a room with students without masks, who will be yelling across the room at each other to socialize, is simply the epitome of danger and to ask any staff member to be in such unsafe conditions is completely unacceptable.

Please, keep us all alive: shut us down now and let us use the month we have to focus on making fully remote instruction as effective as possible.

Sincerely,

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