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New Year Starting Today – Kafka High School

September 9, 2021 am30 7:55 am

Across New York City – we are back.

It’s our first regular September since 2019.

See what I did there? I called it a “regular September.” And that is what is happening across the City.

Yeah, there’s masks, not clear what the rules are. But most schools are going back. Same rooms. Same class sizes. Same first day meetings. Remind me why we sit together for faculty conferences that can be done via zoom from multiple rooms? I know. We are back, and this is a regular September.

Last September (and late August) were different. We – and now I’m mostly talking about teachers – were up in arms. Safety. Planning. How would this work? Why had the DoE and UFT pushed hybrid on us? Why weren’t we remote? There was strike talk (wisely withdrawn, I believe, by the union leadership). There were meetings and seminars. There were petitions and campaigns. COVID had ravaged us in March and April, and was preparing to take a second swipe.

Today? Not much. People are worried, upset, angry. But the fight, at least for now, is not there. We have been exhausted, fatigued. We are walking into our buildings. Regular September.

The New York Times wants us back. They wanted us back last year. There is science, quickly shifting, but the Times, the DoE, Biden, the UFT leadership, Trump, they all want the schools open. There is a vaccine now. We were safe last year. It has to be a regular September.

In today’s Morning Edition the Times argues that Delta is like the flu. Get over it. They are channeling Trump, dressed up with some science. Schools were safe last year – with most kids staying at home. There is a vaccine, but none of the little kids can get it, and not all of the big kids got it, and in some schools, not so many adults got it. “After navigating this pandemic,” someone wrote for Mulgrew this morning “we know we can handle anything.” The arguments are silly, but they make them, without shame, because they help describe a regular September.

And we know – there are far more cases today than a year ago. It’s worse in other parts of the country – but in vaccinated New York – much higher numbers in September 2021 than there were in September 2020.

There is resistance. Parents, politicians, advocates. There needs to be a remote option. There needs to be a real testing program. Ventilation needs review. Class sizes need to be reduced. Social distancing should not be optional. There are op-eds and petitions and City Council resolutions. None of them are saying that remote is better than learning inside actual schools. But they know – this is not a regular September.

And, as we walk into our first regular September faculty meetings, we know they are right.




One Comment leave one →
  1. Samuel Noel permalink
    September 10, 2021 pm30 1:03 pm 1:03 pm

    I sure do feel like Gregor Samsa! Good luck to us all!

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