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Cruelty vs Deceit

December 30, 2021 am31 12:03 am

Part I – Cruelty

Tuesday Bill de Blasio announced that quarantines in New York City schools were mostly a thing of the past. He said a bunch of other stuff – he was talking about COVID and safety. But his big new flash – no more school closings.

Up to now, when someone was positive for COVID, their “close contacts” needed to stay home, until we knew that they were not sick. It’s the approach we generally use for maintaining public health. Under the new plan, all contacts are assumed to NOT have COVID and stay in school, at least until a remote test 5 days after the fact catches them. That’s not the way we generally approach public health, but there is a lot of frustration with this pandemic.

How do I know that ending quarantines, ending classroom closures, and not sending kids home was the centerpiece of his press conference? After all, he spoke for two hours. I know it, and you can know it, because he said so.

Is this cruel? A rapid test on the day of exposure will come back negative. A kid who picks up the virus that day will get a negative rapid, and come to school. For five more days, before the next rapid.

Has the mayor’s staff run estimates of how many people will get sick that way? (probably, “many”) of how many cases will be worse than “mild” (they are hoping for “few”) and how many children and adults will die (they probably calculated “0 to very few” but they’ve probably also gamed out how easy it will be to claim they picked it up outside of school).

The mayor and his staff are gambling with our health, and the health of children. They are taking bets that they hope will work out, but it’s called gambling for a reason…

Part II – Deceit

Michael Mulgrew followed the press conference by issuing a press release. Three hours later he wrote to UFT members. That order reflects who he thinks is more important, but that’s another discussion.

How does he discuss the quarantine change?

Read that paragraph as many times as you like (it’s from the letter to members). He doesn’t discuss the quarantine change.

Perhaps I cut out the relevant part. Look at his list of changes:

That’s also from his email to members. And nope, nothing there about the change in quarantine.

Here’s the whole email:

Not a word about quarantine. de Blasio (and Adams) are practically eliminating quarantining, and Mulgrew doesn’t mention it. But he does support “the changes” – he just fails to mention that eliminating quarantining is one of those changes.

Maybe the press release was clearer?

Nope. Not a word about the biggest change, quarantining.

Although, there he goes again with the “we got this” messaging that just pisses all of us off.

By leaving out any mention of a change in quarantine policy, Mulgrew is trying to deceive teachers. But we are smarter than that. Which you’d think a good union president might know.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Davidson permalink
    December 30, 2021 am31 7:39 am 7:39 am

    The reality is a lot of people are going to UNNECCISARILY get sick. De Blasio’s view is a lot of UNNECESSARY people are going to get sick.

    • December 30, 2021 am31 9:32 am 9:32 am

      The link is to comments by David Banks from early December, discussing a remote option.

      However, the DoE has prepared no such measures. And in fact Tuesday made arrangements to keep sick kids who don’t have symptoms in school. Not only does that not lead to a remote option – it actually diminishes our use of virtual classrooms.

  2. Jake permalink
    December 30, 2021 pm31 12:02 pm 12:02 pm

    Adams called Mulgrew a “hero” – maybe because they agreed the UFT was going to herd teachers into schools without alarming them?

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