Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Today in Flip Flops--de Blasio Comes to His Senses, Maybe

It's hard to say which mayor we want to see. This notwithstanding, I'm going to opt for this week's mayor. A few weeks ago, Bill de Blasio was telling the entire world that New York City schools would be open for business in September.

That was a remarkable thing to hear. After all, NYC hasn't even opened indoor restaurants yet. Broadway is still dark. But somehow it was okay to open up schools with 1.1 million children.

In fairness, de Blasio isn't some MAGA lunatic declaring we're gonna open at 100% capacity, or stating that kids would just get over it, so the hell with all the older people with whom they come into contact.

No, de Blasio had a plan. We would do a "hybrid." That is, some kids will come in, and others will not. Teachers will see ten kids today, ten tomorrow, and rotate until all the students show up. What will those who don't come be doing on those days? No one knows. Why bother to figure that out when you can just dump the problem on 1800 individual schools and hope for the best?

Honestly, I've not seen a single "hybrid" plan that seems practical. De Blasio claims he came up with this based on the unsecured internet poll he put out, but that's nonsense. No unsecured internet poll is regarded as valid, and it appears Hizzoner juked the stats on that one anyway. This notwithstanding, he appears to have come to a much more reasonable conclusion sometime in the recent past:

De Blasio also indicated that full-time classes won’t resume until the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

“The day we get to the vaccine is the day we’ll really go to full, five days a week normal instruction in our schools,” he said.

That's been my conclusion for months now. I'm glad the mayor has come around. Of course, we still have a whole lot of schools that seem to be using the poorly-thought-out plan advanced by de Blasio and Carranza. I'm just a lowly teacher, but it's evident to me the holes in that plan are big enough to drive a truck through.

I'm glad to hear the mayor making statements that are not insane. I would very much like to see him not only embrace this way of thought, but also expand upon it. I understand there are essential services. I saw my doctor last week. She looked like a martian, all covered up with not only a substantial mask, but also a face shield. She was also wearing a gown of some sort.

There are a few differences between doctors and teachers. Doctors are increasingly offering tele-conferences. I'm absolutely certain my doctor would do them exclusively if she could. Alas, taking blood pressure, blood and physical examinations cannot be done remotely. We're a little different. In fact we can perform most services remotely. No, they aren't as good as in person, but no one will get sick and die from remote instruction.

De Blasio's hybrid idea is a lose-lose. Because school is in session, people can and will get sick and die. Because the in-person services are limited in so many ways, with teachers unable to approach students, groupwork out of the question, and inane limitations imposed by the state, they are less effective than remote services,  The fact is, even if de Blasio's poll were valid, no respondents understood just how terrible the city's plan was.

In fact, we'd all be better off sticking with remote learning until there were a vaccine. Education is vital, but putting it off a few months won't kill anyone. Opening the schools, on the other hand certainly will. Exactly how much of that is acceptable to you?

For me, a single death is a miserable and unconscionable failure. If de Blasio or Cuomo opens the schools before we're ready, they'll most certainly have blood on their hands.
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