Sunday, December 19, 2021

New Chancellor Should Send Unmasked Students Home (and Keep Them There)

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get nervous. Clearly I'm late to the party, as over 10% of staff, so far, seems to be absent any recent given day. Yesterday, my wife made a lunch date for today at a nearby restaurant. I just called to cancel it. I don't plan to eat at any restaurants for a while now.  

The Netherlands is locked down, and it's a small world. NY State reported its highest single day total was last Friday.

Also, while I grew up on comic books, while I'm a sucker for super-hero movies, I won't be going to see Spider Man's latest at a theater. In fact, Spider Man could be doing us all a disservice by bringing in those huge crowds. 

I am, however, planning to go into work next week. I can wear a mask all day at work, and I've got a stockpile of Korean KF94 masks. I really recommend them. I don't trust the N95s, despite assurances from Amazon. I figure their most stringent quality control has gone toward sending Jeff Bezos into space. That would be fine, except for his intractable insistence on coming back. 

Last year, students who refused to wear masks were programmed for home instruction. That is a reasonable solution. This year, de Blasio went for some nonsense that includes talking to the student, perhaps other steps, and finally suspension. I don't know what suspension is where you are, but in our school it entails sitting in a desk in the dean's office for a few hours. I've been in the dean's office, and I've actually had to instruct suspended students to pull their masks over their noses. 

I've also heard of students being sent home for the day. I don't know what you were like at 15, but if you'd sent me home for the day, I'd have danced all the way home. I'd have been disappointed to return the next day. Let's make those unmasked kids happy and let them stay home. If their parents find that inconvenient, let them explain the Facts of COVID Life to them.

The only reasonable solution, in a newly dangerous environment, is to keep the unmasked out of school buildings, full stop. I'm not a fan of remote instruction, but the safety of students and staff needs to be paramount. That's unlikely to occur this week as it tends to place Bill de Blasio's gubernatorial hopes at risk. Anyone reading this probably knows my dog stands a better chance of getting elected governor than de Blasio does. (Of course, since I love my dog, I'm advising him to stay out of politics altogether.)

Keeping the unmasked out of overcrowded school buildings is common sense. Of course, common sense remains the least common of all the senses over at the DOE. The new genius chancellor is out there blabbering about testing. If he were worth his weight in paper clips, he'd be more worried about testing people for COVID. De Blasio's current program is a joke, and not a funny one. If you believe the stats about infections in schools, I've got a very impressive bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. 

If you want to measure for zip codes, you'll give the students chancellor's tests. You'll attest to their validity because they're no longer labeled "Common Core." But if you actually care about humans, Mr New Chancellor, you'll ramp up COVID testing to the levels they were at last year, and you'll place anyone reckless or stupid enough to decline testing in remote learning. 

Think about requiring vaccinations for anyone eligible who enters school buildings. Finally, if you ever decide you want someone Not Insane to work at Tweed, I can offer you a list of people who'd be happy to help.

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