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Quarantined and Disrupted

October 14, 2020 am31 1:54 am

Glanced down at my phone to see who was texting. Today. Middle of the day. It was a former student. Now a teacher herself. Middle school. Why was she texting from work? She’s teaching in person. The text cleared things up.


She was unceremoniously sent home, to quarantine. One of her students is positive.


So she’s already been tested, and with some luck will be negative. But the teacher is home. Class moves to fully remote. They are disrupted. But is this a surprise? They were already doing some weird “in one day, out the next” kind of thing. Maybe every third day? I should ask. And there was weird recorded lessons, or live stream… I don’t know the details. But the class was already disrupted.

Every class in the city has already been disrupted. At best – at best – classes are 50% in person. Every third day is more common than every other day, and there are schools on less frequent rotations than that. Each school is different.

Little side note: this does not mean that each school chose what it thought was best. The DoE’s insistence on a full rotation with daily instruction outside of as well as inside of school, and the UFT’s insistence on “blended learning” straight-jacketed most schools. Some were able to go through the necessary hoops to get “exceptions” accepted – but remember how the first schools that decided they wanted to go remote were shot down? The schools chose, unless the Chancellor wanted them to choose something else.

As September passed, a new disruption developed: many schools offer in building instruction – via the internet. Students, mostly in some high schools, come to school, open a lap top, and zoom into their classes. At least they get a consistent daily experience. Bizarre, but consistent.

Who cares about educational disruption?

The Mayor, the Chancellor, and the UFT President have been focused on getting students and teachers into school buildings. There has not been any serious discussion of how education looks when a child gets to every third class, or has two teachers who may not be talking. I’ve yet to hear of any PD for teachers on how to keep the three parts of a class on the same page, when they are coming different days for the “in-person” lesson.

A fully remote program would be far less disruptive. But the Mayor, the Chancellor, and the UFT President have been focused on getting students and teachers into school buildings.

Maybe the Disruption is Not So Bad (math time)

There’s about 1.1 million students in NYC. About half have moved to fully remote. That leaves 550,000. Some schools are on a 2-day rotation, more are on a 3-day rotation. There are others on 4 or more. Call the average 3. That brings us to about 180,000 students each day. 6% of schools have been shut (Red Zone). 170,000. The City has been hiding attendance numbers. I’ve heard that several large schools have gone de facto fully remote. Bronx Science? Stuyvesant? Dozens of kids each day. What’s the real number? 110,000? 80,000? 50,000?

Disruption is disruption. But at 110, or 80, or 50 thousand – we are not talking about Gotham-scale disruption. We are talking about San Diego, Austin, or Wichita scale.


Normally I’d end with a barb. Another day that. Today I just want my student to be ok.

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