Joe Biden’s inauguration promised to usher in a fresh era of sense and science. Americans rejoiced.
Joe Biden vowed to re-open all schools closed by the COVID-19 pandemic within his first 100 days in office. Parents rejoiced.
Then the details began emerging.
High schools would not be included in the reopening plans, only Kindergarten through 8th grade.
“All” schools meant “the majority” of schools. The “majority of schools” meant 51 percent. And “open” meant at least one day a week.
Psaki defined Biden school reopening goal as a “majority of schools, so more than 50%” w/in-person teaching “at least 1 day a week” by day 100.— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) February 9, 2021
1-Goal only targets K-8
2-64% of K-8 students in US are already in class in some form, per Burbio. Story below!https://t.co/Nt43D7lMtI
IT IS NOT BOLD OR AMBITIOUS TO PLAN FOR SOMETHING THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN ACCOMPLISHED.— Karen Vaites (@karenvaites) February 10, 2021
65% of districts have #openschools NOW.
60% had #openschools in October.
How can she say this with a straight face?? https://t.co/vIu5VWQqnh
Yay! He did it! And in less than 100 days, too! This is exactly the kind of bold and ambitious leadership we were all hoping for from this administration!
The New York Times reported:
Education leaders say they were not terribly surprised by the administration’s vacillation, as the 100-day plan was always vague and largely symbolic. They also noted that the federal government had no say over whether schools opened and no power to force them to do so (Ed. Note: Emphasis mine.). Still, Becky Pringle, the president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, said even some of her members were taken aback by the low one-day-a week threshold.
So what does this mean for the parents and students of NYC?
First and foremost it means that, as I wrote repeatedly during the Trump administration, education is primarily a city and state concern, little affected by who happens to be occupying the White House.
Second, it means that, in all likelihood, NYC high schools will continue to remain closed, possibly for the duration of this academic year and into the next.
Third, it means that with “the majority” of America’s schools “open,” there will be no pressure on NYC Mayor De Blasio to alter his current policies, as they are in line with the national guidelines.
The worry then becomes:
True that, in a sense, this goal has already been met in the United States. Moving forward, the problem is that this is an *official invitation from the White House* for major districts like LAUSD to offer students *just one day a week of real instruction*https://t.co/f0DfpGnXU9— Anthony LaMesa (@ajlamesa) February 9, 2021
NYC is an even larger district than LA Unified.
As ABC News reported on February 8:
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed that schools in the nation’s largest school district are “going to be back full-strength in September.”….
But the head of the powerful teachers’ union, Michael Mulgrew, says it’s too soon to commit…..
“It’s a goal of mine, but I can’t say they’re going to open” the United Federation of Teachers president said in an interview. His view of the mayor’s pledge: “This is not about what you want. This is about what you can do safely.”…. Mulgrew said it will take more than teacher vaccines to open schools fully and safely.
New Center for Disease Control guidelines released on Friday, February 12, 2021 don’t even require all teachers and staff to be vaccinated as a prerequisite for reopening school buildings.
The American Academy of Pediatrics chimes in that 6 feet of distancing between students isn’t necessary, either, and “recommends instead spacing as close as 3 feet, particularly if students are wearing face coverings and are asymptomatic.” This would allow for more kids to return to school buildings.
For the last four years, all disagreements, ranging from climate change to alternative energy sources to childhood vaccinations to mask wearing were primarily comprised of both sides screaming at the other to “listen to the science.”
Isn’t it nice to know that, even if NYC declines to do that, they’ll still be part of Biden’s success story in reopening all US schools within his first 100 days in office?