Look at the photos of masked New York kids waiting to go into their schools: It’s a clear sign of the hunger for in-person instruction. But teachers’ union boss Mike Mulgrew keeps looking for new ways to keep them out.
Having already engineered repeated delays of reopening, the United Federation of Teachers prez now threatens to sue if Mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t close schools in neighborhoods that see big virus spikes.
Mulgrew wants the city to close the more than 80 schools in the current hot zones if the virus spread “cannot be contained and reduced.” No matter if the numbers show no problem at the schools themselves.
Yet recent Centers for Disease Control guidance cites studies suggesting in-person learning is safe when transmission rates are low in the greater community. And the citywide positive test rate remains at 1 percent, despite the recent spikes in Brooklyn.
De Blasio has said that if the citywide average goes above 3 percent for seven days, city public schools will close. Other rules can close individual schools over clear virus troubles. That’s not good enough for Mulgrew, who’s out to move the goalposts again.
Infected children overwhelmingly get only mildly sick, the CDC notes: Their rates of hospitalizations and death are far lower than adults’. And masks, handwashing and social-distancing are highly effective against transmitting the virus — while enabling in-person instruction at schools.
At Tottenville HS in Staten Island, hybrid-learning students were in class, yet teachers worked remotely. It was another half-glass concession to the UFT, which created the staffing shortage with demands that have little to do with educating the kids.
As Mulgrew issued his latest threat, frustrated Staten Island parents rallied to demand the city fully open schools — and said they’re ready to sue to make it happen.
The parents are ready, and so are the kids. De Blasio should trust their judgment, ignore Mulgrew — and keep schools open.