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Open. The. Schools.
It’s been more than a year since schools closed for the COVID-19 virus. Across the country and across the world, schools have opened up, full-time, for students.
But those of us unlucky enough to live in places with powerful teachers unions and, more importantly, weak leadership, have heard excuse after excuse how it’s just not possible here.
Enough. Open the schools.
Stop lying to parents and dangling promises. Just open.
In November, Mayor de Blasio closed New York City schools when the city COVID positive test rate hit 3 percent. When, nearly a month later he reopened elementary schools only, he did it with a giant promise: 5 days a week was coming.
Students reading from a book in class.
Parents were thrilled. Five days a week! Dare we dream, in the greatest city in the world, to have for our kids what kids across the country have had for months? Could it be that our leadership had finally recognized the science that reflects how rarely children have a bad outcome with COVID-19?
But of course not. The idea of full-time school was just something our mayor threw out to calm angry parents whose kids had just needlessly lost yet another month of in-person classes. Five-day-a-week school turned out to be impossible in a city where UFT head Michael Mulgrew is actually the one in charge. Full-time school is for families who can afford private school or have the good sense to live somewhere else.
The problem, we were told, was that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested 6 feet of space between kids in the classroom and we simply didn’t have the space. But CDC guidelines are just that, guidelines. They’re not laws. School districts across the country made the decision to disregard that guideline to make sure their students had full-time school. Districts that didn’t disregard the guideline continued to treat school as optional and not that important.
For reference, CDC also suggests that you eat your ground meat well-done and your steak cooked no less than medium. Let us not catch Mulgrew with a mouth full of juicy burger cooked to anything other than hockey puck quality.
But to see how little these guidelines actually matter to power-hungry unions, note that the 6-foot suggestion was dropped to 3 feet nearly a month ago. But, of course, Mulgrew is still in no rush to make the change and reopen the schools, and suddenly doesn’t trust the CDC.
“We’re waiting for these experts to tell us,” he said in March, shopping for someone who would cover for him. “And we’ll follow their guidelines.”
Our kids are suffering and no one in leadership cares. Gov. Cuomo could have stepped in a hundred times and gotten our schools open. Instead this is the one time he has decided to let Mayor de Blasio stay in charge. Convenient.
FILE: Students at Wyandotte County High School wear masks as the walk through a hallway on the first day of in-person learning at the school in Kansas City, Kan.
Meanwhile, for all the claptrap about equity in the past few years, poor kids will be hardest hit by the continued school closures and everyone knows it. Rich kids will have tutors, learning pods, engaged parents with the time to help them. Poor kids will be completely left behind. Some equity.
It’s not just New York City. School districts in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan and other states remain all or mostly virtual. These are all places where students continue to be held hostage to the demands of these anti-science teachers unions and their feckless leaders don’t do a thing about it.
Demoralized parents, suffering students, and a complete disregard for education, student well-being or sanity, are the hallmarks of these places.
Lies, broken promises and a constantly dangled carrot that school will open “soon” have shattered the trust between parents and their schools.
Teachers in many of these states have been at the front of the line for vaccines for months. Yet unions and local governments refuse to reveal — or even keep track of — the percentage of teachers who have been vaccinated. It’s a con job. Because if teachers are vaccinated, and all of them should be by now, what excuse can there be now for refusing to do their jobs?
It’s been over a year. This is abuse. Open the schools.
It’s not about safety. According to the Burbio tracker, Florida has 100 percent of its schools open for full-time in-person education yet has not seen outbreaks in their schools. A piece in the Wall Street Journal last month noted, “Florida schools have avoided major outbreaks of COVID-19 and maintained case rates lower than those in the wider community.”
It makes logical sense that kids spending all their time in a classroom with the same kids every day will transmit COVID at lower levels than kids dispersed throughout a city in various childcare situations with different groups of kids. According to the CDC, lack of outbreaks in schools has been the case throughout the country and the world. But no one in charge cares about the science whatsoever.
Meanwhile president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, is giving gibberish interviews full of Marxist language blaming Jews who dare to push back on these unions for keeping schools closed as being “in the ownership class now and want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.” This is who is in charge of school policy. This is who President Biden forces the CDC to hear from before they make their suggestions.
A few days ago, Mulgrew sent a letter to his members boasting, “New York City schools are on track to receive $5 billion in COVID relief funds” and including a five-point plan to help “students recover from the pandemic and help our schools to move forward.” None of the five points refer to school returning on a full-time basis. New Yorkers are being played.
When the dust clears and the pandemic is in our rearview mirror we cannot forget the people, union heads and lame politicians, who put our kids last and didn’t care whatsoever about doing the right thing for them. No amount of money thrown at the schools by President Biden has made an iota of difference. They don’t care about our kids and they show it every single day. Remember.
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