This was in my Google Newsfeeed today from New York School Talk:
Despite last week’s City Council hearing on the September 13, 2021 return to school plans, where Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger and a cohort of parents advocated for a remote education option, Mayor Bill de Blasio and School Chancellor Meisha Porter insisted that, save for listed medical exceptions*, all students, vaccinated or not, would be required to return to school in person.
Soon after, I began hearing the idea of a parents’ strike, where public school families would keep their children home as a way to demonstrate just how many of them didn’t feel reassured by the safety protocols — and platitudes — they were being offered.
I asked my readers whether they would support such an action. Here’s what they had to say:
CV: I will be part of the parent strike and if there is no remote option, will pull my child from public school.
KA: I can’t bear that we are sending our kids into chaos and closures, with a heightened risk of covid, when we are so close to a vaccine for children. I will definitely support a strike and was already planning to hold my son back for the first week, as the DOE isn’t requiring any baseline testing to weed out vacation covid cases.
JK: I absolutely will support the strike. I made up my mind to hold off until the last minute and not send my kids to school. After many Zoom meetings with the Chancellor, districts, principals, I feel they all are singing the same tune – a tune that is not sitting well with me for many reasons. All I hear is “vaccinations and multi-layered approach to safety” – but is that all that it is? When I asked questions in forums, they were ignored.
MRC: The lack of remote option is particularly concerning in light of the inadequate testing program — no Pre-Kers, no Kindergarteners, no vaccinated individuals, only 10% of those who opt in (which is not required to attend school) and only every other week. We know this virus — and the Delta variant in particular — spreads to and from children, asymptomatic individuals, and those who are vaccinated. The single-minded drive to get our kids in school, in person, at any cost is going to drive parents to homeschool, private school, and leave NYC altogether.
TK: I am going to notify DOE of our decision to homeschool. At this point it seems to be the only choice to keep both my kids and older members of my family safe (grandparents are immunocompromised and vaccines were not much help for them).
Judging from the anecdotals I heard from the schools today as educators returned, in many places it is 2019 style education as if the pandemic is over or never happened. Someone sent me pictures of a crowded auditorium. Others told me social distancing wasn't happening and there were hugs as well as masks being worn over chins.
On the other hand, some schools held meetings over Zoom with teachers not leaving classrooms. My guess is there will be some safety protocols followed in some schools while others ignore them when the kids return on Monday.
I don't think it is safe in the schools but I don't make these decisions for NYC.