Sunday, November 15, 2020

NYC School COVID Testing Is a Scam

We can argue about how effective testing plans are. Should we do it weekly? Every other week? Monthly? Which percentage do we need to test at a time? Should we vary depending on the rate of positivity? These are all valid concerns. I'm not an expert or a medical professional, and I'd defer to the opinions of those who are. 

Everything I hear, though, tells me that however we answer the above, things are far from kosher in the Big Apple. Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza are constantly paying valuable lip service to just how much they care about the safety of students and staff. Carranza writes us flowery letters saying how much he cares about us even as he tries to pick a billion dollars from our collective pocket. Meanwhile, I can only suppose we aren't supposed to pay attention to actual conditions on this astral plane.

It's my understanding, from multiple sources now, that those who do the testing have numbers they need to hit. I'm not sure exactly how they arrive at these numbers, but once they reach whatever their quotas happen to be, they are gone. That's fine. If we have a hundred people and they need to do 20% a week, they therefore need to test 20 people a week. 

In fact, in our school, they initially favored coming in on Fridays. There are very few people in our building on Fridays. That's a day we reach out to students with special needs or issues, and the pool of students and staff in our building is by no means representative. It took them weeks to remedy that, though it should've been one simple conversation. While that may be representative of their lack of competence, that's not even the main issue.

The main issue is they're supposed to be testing at random, and they simply are not. In multiple settings, including my home school, they first seek volunteers. If they get enough of them, they don't bother calling on people at random. This means that samples are self-selected, and therefore not random at all. If you don't feel like having someone stick a q-tip in your nose, no matter how far it may be, you don't get a q-tip in your nose. 

On the other hand, if you're the sort of person who wants to get with the program, whatever it may be, you might get tested every single week. Now sure, you have a great attitude and you're loved by many. This notwithstanding, you're allowing at least one person, and likely more, to never get tested. This skews the results tremendously. How is it that the city rate of positivity approaches 3% while the school level is well below 1? This explains it.

And hey, let's not forget that the city did not come to an agreement with DC37, If you're UFT and you decline mandatory testing, you're on unpaid leave. If you're DC37, you just go back to work. Are you sick? Are you well? Who knows? Certainly not anyone in your school building. It boggles my mind to imagine how the city could make such a huge omission. Last I looked, DC37 members were just as susceptible to catching the virus as UFT or CSA. Try telling that to Carranza, who's likely as not still searching for those 108,000 epidemiologists to tell him which way is up.

These omissions and juked stats also open the door for an opportunistic tinhorn politician like Andrew Cuomo to get up on his hind legs and proclaim buildings should be closed based on individual school results, rather than city or statewide ones. Is he doing it because he thinks keeping schools open is the right thing? Is he doing it to prolong his juvenile sandbox battle with de Blasio? To divert attention from his tremendous failure in nursing homes? All or none of the above? Unless someone out there with psychic powers wants to share a reading, we'll never know.

In any case, sit while you wait for Cuomo to tell Eva Moskowitz to open her charter buildings. After all the suitcases of cash her BFFs sent him, that's not happening any time soon. It doesn't really matter, though. The current testing system is unreliable at best. And the results are out there for everyone to see.

That's absolutely credible. Once the geniuses from Tweed meet their quota, why would they bother to test the D75 students. They got their 20%, their 20 tests, or whatever the bare minimum requirement may be, and they're on their merry way.  Not enough testing? Not a random sample? Not my job, dude.

I am continually amazed by the rampant ineptitude of Bill de Blasio's Department of Education. He had every opportunity to clean house. Instead, he just Bloomberg's machine in place. He then failed to maintain it, let alone improve it. This crucial error is just one by-product of his utter lack of vision.

Mayor de Blasio had better wake up, or the consequences could very well be deadly.

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