We knew NYC school employees paid a heavy price from schools staying open for too long in March. We now have the tragic numbers from Politico.
To date, 79 employees from the Department of Education — the largest city agency — have died from Covid-19, the most fatalities any municipal department has endured, according to a tally released by City Hall. POLITICO calculated 88 deaths at the department, based on additional data from unions representing school workers.
Another 13 school safety agents and one crossing guard employed by the NYPD died from the virus, according to the police force.
Of the 83 school workers whose race POLITICO identified through publicly-available information, 62 were Black or Latino — a rate in keeping with a city workforce that is 62 percent nonwhite, according to the most recent available data.
Ever the revisionist historian, UFT President Michael Mulgrew accepts no responsibility for the deaths.
“We were one of the last school systems to close down,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said. “At the same time, we had more virus in our city, and in our school system, than anywhere else.”
Did Mulgrew ever tell his members to leave COVID-19 infected buildings he knew were infected in early March? No, he even said yes to UFTers going in for three days of useless professional development on March 17-19 as the spread of the first wave of the pandemic in NYC was getting out of control.
The DOE doesn't win any honesty award here either. Back to Politico:
A spokesperson from the Department of Education said the agency deep-cleaned every building each day in advance of in-person staff training sessions in March. Teachers who were sick were advised to stay home.
Go ahead and say how you are going to stop paying union dues for the hundredth time. I understand the frustration but I am still looking at a different road ahead.
My dream for the new year is for hundreds of you to stand up and win chapter leader and delegate positions this spring to lay the groundwork for teachers to finally vote to oust Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus next year. That threat would impact the UFT much more than a bunch of lone wolves opting out of dues. There is strength in numbers when those people start to organize.
I also hope and pray that since the pandemic rages on, UFTers who feel any building isn't safe will refuse to enter that school or walk out en masse.
My biggest hope for 2021 is that we can all feel safe with an effective vaccine so schools and all of society can move to a better future.
What you you hoping for?