Wednesday, January 12, 2022


 Michael Mulgrew asks for a moment of silence for the Bronx fire that cost 17 people their lives including 8 children and impacted on dozens of families. He also asked for people to go to to go to the disaster relief fund. Doctor Mowen, an independent doctor will be on the call. COVID update came out weekly today. Pass it on. Get out information. Pass it on. It is clear. We are working with new DOE and City administration. This is rough. This has been the roughest time I can ever remember in Mulgrew's opinion. New variant through holiday season. Every day multiple coverages. Children not knowing what to do and parents asking questions. It's real. We have stood up for the children throughout the pandemic. We will fight about a remote option. City should be concentrating on the heroic work that is going on in the schools. Nobody could have ever imagined us going through something like this. We are the largest school system. We are doing heroic work. At times, we will fight.

We met with doctors after Thanksgiving. Doctors said rapid test kids were better now. New administration coming in. We wanted state to mandate student testing. Pushing with State Legislature and Governor. We haven't gotten there yet. Mayor didn't fight but said he would try to get us what we need. We send out clearer directions than the DOE does. New administration got control of the schools on January 1. School started on January 3. Kids getting sick in class. We asked for a remote day Friday. Told mayor but he thought it was an excuse for COVID remote.  We want schools to go remote if there aren't enough staff to keep the school safe. Teachers last week were taking the double coverages. That is the beauty of the people inside this union. We have a right to be fed up with the government but we picked it up and got instruction done. Moving forward we will have to fight to close schools if they don't have enough staff. Over 200,000 students have not shown up, we need a remote option. 200,000 haven't shown up and are getting no education. Have to be flexible. Remote should not look like it looked like last year. Last administration didn't want to do a remote option. We need a campaign to get parents to consent to testing. 

We have not taken a position on student-mandated vaccines. 5-11year-olds vaccinated percentage vaccinated in the 30s. 12-17 it is in the 80s. We are testing more than ever before. Situation Room was completely rebuilt. We have more testing team than before. We want staff tested who want it. We are asking them to use common sense. We can try to get things changed. Testing from NYC sites goes to Situation Room. Principals report rapid testing into Situation Room. Rough holiday caused positive tests to go up. It is in the teens percentage wise. We have heard reports that we have already hit the peak. First week numbers are going down. Rapid tests are our number one tool. KN95 masks important. There can't be an interuption in supply chain. Elected officials who say schools should remain open need to do what is needed to keep it safe. Mulgrew does not trust doctors who are on government payroll. We spoke to Governor Hochul. We got millions of tests. Think on school level how they should be used. We should get a rapid test each week for every staff members. Some children last week in secondary schools were getting seven-nine test kits. Schools need to use common sense. DOE can't waste test kits. Some principals giving the same kids test kits over and over. Want test kits used as needed. No individual needs 20 tests per week. There will never be enough testing. We want PPE available for everyone. Mulgrew went to D75 and American Sign Language School on January 3. They had supplies.

We are in a tough time. We have to be resiliant. We have to be there for each other. You are doing so much more than you have to. This goes past any dedication than should be required. We will hopefully get past this phase. Ask for Dr. Jackie Molene to speak.

Doctor comes on and says we were out banging on pots and pans cheering in March and April 2020 for healthcare workrs and they should now be cheering for you and all the essential workers. Two types of testing: PCR tests tells us where big problems are. rapid tests 95% sensitive according to new study from San Fransisco. Should be wearing N95 or KN94 which studies show they are effective for 24 hours. Cloth masks work but not as well. Omicron has different symtoms. No loss of taste or smell. Cold-like symptoms. You can come back after five days. Not sure of the rules of testing for children.

Mulgrew says if a student is symptomatic, they are isolated and sent home with a rapid tests that gets input into system. Mulgrew asks, if exposed, should I test every day? Rapid test show when you are symptomatic and infectious.

Doctor comes back and says you should test on day 3. Virus is evading some of the masks which come down when someone is eating and drinking. Testing every day not necessary but can test on third day. 

Mulgrew: In terms of virus, we know it's much more infectious.

Doctor: Rate as high as 30% and it is now down a bit. The hospitalization rate is stabilizing in NYC and Long Island. That is a lagging indicator but no big increase. We may have hit the peak and the numbers are going down. We hope for a deep down slope like South Africa.

Mulgrew: We talked to a South African doctor and hoping for a quick decrease. Since this is so rampant, shouldn't we look at hospitalizations?

Doctor: Omicron does not go deep in the lungs so less Covid Pneumonia. Some have cold-like symptoms. Some it is worse. People with worse outcomes who have things like blood cancers. Vaccines prevent severe outcomes, especially those who are boosted. Boosters are a big deal. Hospitalizations are shorter and fewer people on ventilators.

Mulgrew thanks the doctor.


Question: We're getting conflicting information from the Situation Room on testing kits.

Mulgrew Answer: One kit with two rapid tests for most; two with four tests for some with extenuating circumstances. Situation Room does not put out this guidance. If you are not getting one kit every week, then tell us. 

Question: We are getting one KN95 mask per week. Are we going to get more?

Answer: CDC says the KN95 the city is giving them are good for a week. Style shouldn't matter.

Question: Para on Staten Island snow days, have the city ever done a delayed opening? Coworkers crying because they had to scramble for child care who live where kids stayed home because of ice or snow.

Mulgrew answer: Many stuck because of ice last Wednesday. We can't delay the opening in such a large district. Delayed opening was tried once or twice and it was a disaster. We asked the ayor to go remote. 20% down already and if we had 20% more absent, we can't cover it. We should have gone remote. Mayor said we can't close because people will expect it. Less than 50% of kids showed up. Over 50% of staff were there. They needed to do it before. Classrooms are digital. Kids didn't come Friday

 Question: Can't do a live meet with kids quarantining. We were told we can't get per session?

Mulgrew Answer: That is not true. Contact Staten Island people. Office hours still there to take care of kids positive for COVID or in isolation. DOE made it up that agreement wasn't in effect. Chancellor told superintendents agreement was still in place. Staten Island people will straighten this out.

Question: Temperatures, classrooms in the 60s and 50s. Students with runny noses taking off their masks and heating system not working.

Answer: That is an emergency situation that needs to be fixed right away. Email me.

Question: DOE designated certain areas for PCR test. Wanted PCR and Rapid; PCR takes too long.

Answer: Look at sites to see which test they give and see who cast lines DOE employees. Rapid test came back positive. We will clarify where DOE fast track lines are. We meet with testing people at 8:30 each day. If DOE priority is for both tests, we should get both. Sorry you have tested positive.

Question: Had COVID over the break, question about spring break pay arbitration. Some of us were expecting money. Can people cash in before they retire? Many teachers not happy.

Answer: If you worked all 7 days, you get 7 days. UFT wanted cash. Arbitrator had 4 other unions involved.  Arbitrator not comfortable with giving us cash. City offered CAR days. Our team argued correctly that CAR days were not equal. Arbitrator made up vacation days. We can use this in future negotiations. We wanted cash but DOE tried everything to not give us anything of value of what we worked. Will get more value if you cash them in ten years from now.

Question: Consequences for staff who don't wear masks? Known issue that has been escalating.

Answer: If you don't follow the mask mandate, you can be disciplined. At this point, if you aren't wearing a mask, you are disrespecting my right to be safe. We had this last year. We had situations where administrators weren't wearing masks so half the staff wasn't wearing them. We will take this if you tell us.

Question: Omicron not mild for people with preexisting conditions. Should we get remote accommodations again?

Answer: You can put in for a medical accommodation but the criteria are different from last year. 

Doctor: Disease is mild for most people but for people who are medically fragile, the consequences can be different. Last year there was no vaccine. Even for those who are medically fragile, we are not seeing the same rates of disease as we saw in prior waves of disease. Diabetes, hypertension, and obesity might not get it but for things like blood cancer they are accommodated. Children being hospitalized more with Omicron than with some of the other variants. Newborns and people with other conditions more likely to be hospitalized.

Mulgrew: Some getting accommodations but vaccine is the difference.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew for thanking us. What is the work we have to do with kids who are testing positive? 

Answer: Post asynchronous work and have office hours. Make yourself available for two hours as your schedule permits.

Question: Thanks doctor. Are the Union and the DOE negotiating an early retirement incentive with this administration?

Answer: Only negotiating on COVID with new mayor.

Question: Non DOE sites in DOE buildings not getting screened or tested.

Answer: We will work on that; it is a great idea.

Question: Documentation after a positive test. She tested positive yesterday on a rapid test. Must show a documented test on form. It is unclear if a picture of the positive test is sufficient. Administration can be difficult. Midwood HS administration wants a documented test and a letter from a doctor saying we have COVID test. GP won't take COVID patients. 

Answer: I have the name of the school. They are not supposed to do this. Health screening is legal attestation. You can be brought up on disciplinary charges for lying. That is a difficult administration. Brooklyn people will resolve this.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew for vacation days; cancer patient whose accommodation expires on January 28. What happens after that? Recommends Sloan Kettering.

Answer: Medical accommodations expire at the end of the term. Reapply for the spring. We were the first union to get concierge service at Sloan.

Question: Testing in 3-k and pre-k sites has not happened. If we don't get testing in the schools by the end of January, can we still get the testing kits?

Answer: We may have passed the height of this wave, knock on wood, but we will still send the kits home. Situation Room measures rate of positivity. Rapid test kits are the most important tests now. Little kids get COVID and they are not vaccinated.

Question: Students with symptoms, are we still activating the Building Response Team? Should kids still go to isolation room? Should be sent back with a note?

Answer: Students who have positive test results should be isolated. I don't really care what the room is called. Adults who get the word they are positive also need to leave the classroom.

Doctor Answer: Omicron symptoms similar to the common cold. A child with cold symptoms probably has COVID at this point should not be sent back to the classroom. 

Mulgrew: We need to get a policy that errors on the side of caution at all times on this when the symptoms are similar to the common cold.

Question: Looking past surge we are experiencing and talk about the MOSL. This surge has caused a four weeks of poor attendance. Thought of doing MOSL under these circumstances is tough, is there any conversation about this? Will the state give us a waiver? 

Answer: No way in NYC to do this that is fair. Working with DOE and State on this. Only state can wave it. We are talking to state and city,

Question: Six google assignments and coverage assignments being mandated?

Answer: No they should not be doing that. We will fix it. 

Question: I was quarantined and asked to upload work while home. Was I supposed to do that?

Answer: Substitute is supposed to do that while you are out. Tell us what school this is. Can't wait to find out. Email me, DR.

Mulgrew thanks doctor. Says it can't go unnoticed what we are doing. The performance of our members is beyond everything we signed up for. Ask the press if they recognize the phenomenal work you are doing. Constantly in schools. We are in this together. Thanks all of you. What we are doing throughout this pandemic shows how great you all are. We will have another town hall in February. Be well and safe and try to stay warm. 


Anonymous said...

I love when mulgrew tells me what’s going on in schools from the comfort of his home

Anonymous said...

"At times, we will fight."

At times? LOL. What a joke of a union.

Alejandra said...

Thank you James for gathering these notes.
I could not bare to listen to this man's voice.
Take care all. Stay home if sick!

Anonymous said...

“ Mulgrew does not trust doctors who are on government payroll. ”

But he trusts doctors who get kickbacks from Pfizer?

Anonymous said...

And i don't trust any occupational medicine specialist recruited by Mulgrew from Northwell Health. The little question and answer show between them was 100% worked. He wouldn't ask anything without knowing the answer she would give.

Lisa7841246 said...

Why is it whenever I hear that fake human speak, I think of a slithering snake.ssssssssss. Watch out members we know what snakes do!!

Anonymous said...

I do not trust the UFT doctor expert who I don't think is any better that the ones hired by the city. The KN95 masks given out at my school are not approved by CDC. they are for 4-6 hour use. The UFT is lying "they will last up to 5 days" no they are not according to the manufacture.

I can prove it. Looked up the model number.

Anonymous said...

I don't want Mulgoons pandering praise, I want him to fight for a remote option for parents. He said he is fighting but we all know he is full of shit. In fact, Adams said yesterday that implementing any remote option will "take 6 months to plan". For the love of God, we implemented a citywide remote in 10 days a couple of years ago. Having a remote option is what many parents want and would reduce the stress of teachers having to cover for sick colleagues as enrollment for in person would be reduced significantly.

Anonymous said...

I really don't give a crap anymore. There is no Remote Option!!!! I am only Sending Students on My Quarantine list the assignments to complete. There will be no more than 45% of students passing my classes because they do not attend and are not in Quarantine.. I do not want to hear crap. Have the Mayor explain to my Seniors why they will need to attend summer school.

Anonymous said...

I still don’t get how school is a “safe place” regarding Covid. It is a Petri dish and a breeding ground for Covid especially in the elementary schools. Children under 5 can’t be vaccinated and are carriers, children 11 to 17? are not all vaccinated. True all staff is vaccinated but the students are not. Even if vaccinated, Covid is still transmissible. Parents: Ask yourselves if you would rather have your child possibly hospitalized by in school learning or home on remote with less chance, (even with other children in the home). Does your child have other health issues? Do you have health issues? Do you have grandparents or elderly relatives living in the house?

Anonymous said...

Ask Fox news if they have substitutes stepping in to do the news when they or a member of their family gets hit with Covid. They are all working remotely but do the most teacher bashing.

Anonymous said...

They’d should be a tax write off for all that we are buying. Three “sets” of “Covid” supplies. One for my house, one for my car, and another for the classroom. plastic gloves, masks, Lysol, hand sanitizer, bags, plastic spoons, forks, cups, paper towels, garbage bags, rags, tissues, toilet paper, etc.

Anonymous said...

We are getting positive cases daily in my class, but we've been given only 2 rapid tests a week. Shouldn't we have more tests especially those of us who've been exposed??
Furthermore, we're not notified that we were exposed. Isn't this against the rules????

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that all the teachers that were put on leave for vax refusal might have been useful with all these vaxxed teachers and students getting sick. Saying the vaccine works and forcing your staff to get it while COVID rips through the schools is absolutely moronic. Mulgrew and his sheep deserve all that's coming to them for following the "government scientist" when it was convenient for them. Mulgrew avoids stepping foot in schools as do most of these clowns in administration and yet talks as if he is there on a daily basis, he is a weak leader for an even weaker union.

James Eterno said...

I have answered this already but will answer again. Look at deaths of vaccinated vs unvaccinated.

NY Times:

Vaccination remains highly effective at preventing severe Covid illnesses. And Omicron is milder than earlier versions of the virus. The combination means that most Americans — including children and vaccinated adults — face little personal risk from Omicron.

The risk is not zero, to be clear, even among people who are generally healthy. But it is very small. Every day, people live with small risks, be they from the seasonal flu and other illnesses or from riding in a vehicle, playing sports or other activities.

For the unvaccinated, the situation is very different. Omicron is still severe enough that it will lead to debilitating illness and death for many unvaccinated people. In much of the U.S., a large number of adults — including older adults — remain unvaccinated.

Anon2323 said...

ok James just like you censored legitimate info about comorbidities and deaths not accurate.

Moronic is the flu, unvaccinated who had covid so much better off than vaxxed