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NYC Public School 2021-22: Subs and Preps

August 21, 2021 am31 12:03 am

Listen folks, September 2021 will not be a rerun of September 2020. The problems will be bad, but new.


  • Percent vaccinated was 0%. Now it is higher.
  • COVID was scary, but seemed to be fading. Now we have gone through several variants, and Delta is rising in NY (while surging elsewhere)
  • One quarter of the kids (25%) were going to come to school in person (de Blasio said 3/4, but we all said he was wrong, and we were right). Now everyone is coming to school (with people leaving New York, and others just holding their kids home, call it 85%)
  • Many teachers were going to work from home. Does anyone know how many had remote accommodations? 20%? 30%? Now, there are just about no remote accommodations.

The Federal Government wanted all schools open. Well, some things have not changed.

These differences have some direct consequences. I’m thinking of substitute teachers and mass preps.

Will teachers be out? Yup.

  • Every time a teacher gets COVID, even if it is a mild case, that teacher will be out of school. Anyone know how many days?
  • When a teacher is exposed, I believe they will be quarantined (anyone know the details? Or are they changing?)
  • And when morale is low, and exhaustion is real – and both of those conditions exist at higher levels, by a lot, than usual – when morale is low and exhaustion is real teachers who do not feel good are more likely to play it safe and stay home – even when it is not-COVID or COVID-related.
  • And a perhaps surprising fact: New York State guidance says that students who are exposed by wearing a mask do not need to quarantine. But the teacher, if unvaccinated, will need to.

Let me throw in one more question: teachers left in June – were they all replaced? Are staffing levels low?

In any case, there will be teachers out. There will be classes uncovered. Do schools have enough subs?

One option that is no longer an option: in elementary, splitting the teacher’s class and sending it into other classes in the same grade. Social Distancing would go out the window.

Another unavailable option: sending groups of classes into the auditorium. “Mass preps” I think they used to call it.

Remember, last year schools were over half empty. This year they will almost be full. What to do when teachers are out – especially since COVID can lead to long absences, is a real issue. Is your school ready with subs?

This post was motivated by a comment from yesterday:

You are missing a BIG point. The NYS back to school regulations state that students who are exposed to a confirmed covid case while social distancing and wearing a mask do not need to quarantine. However, if their teacher is unvaccinated, he or she will have to quarantine. Thus, you will have quite a few teachers quarantining at home while the rest of their classes will still be in the school building. Who is going to supervise that class while the teacher is in quarantine?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Samuel Noel permalink
    August 21, 2021 am31 6:41 am 6:41 am

    Supposedly, all faculty and staff must be vaccinated by opening day. That too might just cull the herd.

    Haven’t heard about job fairs, so I assume staffing is adequate but, then again, this is a lame duck administration on its way out.

    Another year of building the plane while it flies!

    • Joel C. permalink
      August 21, 2021 am31 8:55 am 8:55 am

      Samuel, as of today, teachers are not required to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated teachers will have to get tested weekly. However, DeBlasio is hinting at required vaccinations. This will then become a sh*t storm as the UFT will not fight it and then the NYPD, NYFD, etc, will all also need to be vaccinated. Those unions will fight mandatory vaccinations.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    August 22, 2021 pm31 5:38 pm 5:38 pm

    I think most of this is correct and lack of subs is going to be a huge problem. So is what happens when part but not all of a class is quarantined. But I think a couple of points may be wrong:

    -I think vaccinated teachers do not have to quarantine if exposed, provided they do not develop symptoms. I don’t know if there is a testing requirement to go along with this.

    -I have not heard that the DOE is adopting that guidance from NYS about masked (unvaccinated) students not needing to quarantine. I think the classroom closure policy is similar to the end of last year (and to Summer Rising), except that vaccinated students do not have to quarantine. I have no idea if/how they will check student vaccination status.

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