This is from an interview UFT President Michael Mulgrew did on PIX 11 on August 27:
Anchorman: Is remote learning..., do you want that to be an option and is there the staffing for it?
Mulgrew: It's not a question of do we want; it will be an option; it won't be an option as it was last year. At the end of June last year, we were closing a thousand classrooms a day, those children were being taught remotely and that is when we had 300,000 students, so we're going to need a remote program. So for us, the teachers will do the job but we have to make sure that they're not being overburdened and that the Department of Ed is doing its job to support the teachers in the work they're trying to do. And that is what that negotiation is about. I know the mayor likes to say there is no remote; it's just not realistic.
Anchorman: So what are you negotiating?
Mulgrew: We're negotiating the fact that now teachers will have to be doing a regular day of work, setting up a classroom and all of that and at the same time now, that the city and we understand this, they need to set up a digital classroom and all of the rest of it. So this is a lot more work than they normally do.
My take is that if the Delta variant spreads like wildfire throughout NYC schools, there will be plenty of classrooms closed that will go virtual. That seems very likely. Teachers will be the ones who have to do the extra work Mulgrew talked about and there will be little or no compensation.
Mulgrew admits on PIX 11 that in June the DOE was closing a thousand classrooms a day and this was before the more contagious Delta variant was all over the place. At that time, the vast majority of the kids were not in the buildings. They were learning remotely. Having so few students in buildings kept infections at a lower rate than they would otherwise have been and gave many parents and other New Yorkers the chance to get vaccinated so by the end of the school year Mulgrew could make his premature claim that we had reached herd immunity.
Now that the United States with Delta is again one of the countries most negatively impacted by the pandemic as there are over a thousand Americans a day dying and doctors fear children of color are particularly at risk, it seems to me to be a little insane to negotiate on what to do when kids get COVID instead of figuring out how to truly minimize infections. This could be best accomplished by again having a remote option opened up to every family, especially those with children under 12 who cannot get vaccinated.
I am no scientist and don't pretend to be one. That said, in my non-scientific opinion, the de Blasio-Mulgrew strategy now seems to be to throw a giant "infect the kids with COVID party" and hope for the best in terms of hospitalizations and deaths because children have had better outcomes with COVID than adults.
I don't understand why the radical right who come to this blog are not praising de Blasio and Mulgrew for opening schools at full capacity. It looks like a strategy to infect as many kids as possible. It is quite close to the infect everyone with COVID to build natural immunity declaration that folks on the right love. It is a weird kind of survival of the fittest approach.
I'd prefer a remote option for those who don't want to participate in this social-scientific experiment.