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Pandemic and the school's response.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

So I've established pretty well that I'm a teacher, and oh my lord is there ever messed up stuff going on right now. For those who don't know, I have a pregnant wife and a 1 year old at home, and I teach middle school around DC - in a building of around 1,000 students.

As of now, almost all public venues except for public schools are closed in response to the pandemic. What makes it worse is the 40+ fever stricken students who are being sent to school by their parents every day. (I had a look at the nurses charts yesterday.) There is zero planning or response from our school. Instead of sending kids with fevers home, they send them back to class - because they simply have no place to put the kids whose parents won't answer the phone - or worse - the parents who tell the school that they aren't going to come get them. What's more is that all of these children are symtomatic and not being sent to a hospital to be tested.

Rooms are not sanitized day to day. Middle schoolers may as well be drinking vials of each other's saliva for as much as they touch eachother and don't clean themselves. We have an association meeting today to try to force the hand of public school officals. I, personally, am planning to take an extended leave of absence until an acceptable response is taken.

The main concern of the county is that school is state funded daycare that provides free meals for most of the students (where I teach.) At the same time, I did not go to college to teach to be a daycare provider, nor work in a glorified cafeteria. Parents are actively sending their chidlren to school sick, endangering staff and other students. I'm glad that I have a contract that will prevent me from losing my career for making a choice about the personal safety of myself and my family. From the looks of our preliminary e-mails, over half of the staff in my building are going to band together and stop coming to work, which will close our building by itself. If you see that public universities, professional sports, and most events are being cancelled, public schools are also a logical closure.


ladybug1974's picture

Very nicely written, Im not a teacher but im terrifed. My step kids are coming this weekend. on a good day they have a slight cold. im going to spray them down with lysol the moment they eneter my house lol 

Harry's picture

The school keep them, feed them and do most parent things.  Parents send sick kids because they don't want to take care of them.  They may have to cook!  That why major city's don't want to closed schools. 

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

But again, it's not the responsibility of the school system - or teachers - to put themselves at risk because mom and dad have a bad job, ya know?

tog redux's picture

No, its not - but I was replying to Harry's cynical view that the parents don't want them home. 

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Oh, I gotcha.

Some of it's true though.

Our nurse sat an argued with parents who were at home refusing to come pick up their sick kid from school for hours yesterday.

Disneyfan's picture

I feel like a glorified babysitter right now.  Schools all around us(NYC)are closing.  But the Mayor and Chancellor are only closing schools where the are confirmed cases of the various.  They are citing our large homeless population as the excuse for not closing.

As much as I love my students, I'm livid with the decision to keep our schools open.   I spray down my classroom 3 times a day with lysol.  I'm constantly walking around squirting hand sanitizer into my students hands.  

Fortunately, my parents are starting to  keep their kids home.  I'm if they are doing it out of fear or because they are sick.  Today 15 of my 28 students are out.

As soon as school is out at 2:20, I get to fight the angry mobs at the grocery store, meat market and fish market.


HowLongIsForever's picture

State just mandated last night that all schools close for three weeks (at which point spring break starts).

They are working today to figure out the possibilities of somehow keeping meal services available to those who qualify for free/reduced lunches and remote learning.

Only one district had planned to voluntarily close before the mandate.

This morning, a neighboring district confirmed one of their teachers is one of the dozen presumptive positive cases in the state.

I am surprised it took the schools shutting their doors to get some of the huge industries around here to take notice and start restricting the flow of onsite traffic.

I struggle to understand the rationale for waiting until the spread is confirmed.  Especially since the resources simply aren't there for the volume of testing needed to properly assess and address the situation.

I can't imagine how difficult the inaction is making your lives as educators (as if it's not difficult enough).


ladybug1974's picture

I dont get why aprents dont want to pick up there kids. I always picked up my son.. a slight cold mabye ( but i cant remember ) i never took my son to scholl or left him there if they called me. Either myself \my mum my ex hubby or a freind would help me out. 

Disneyfan's picture

It's not that they don't  WANT to pick up their kids.  Some people will be FIRED if they do.  

Many people do not have PTO or sick leave.  If they don't work, they don't get paid.  If they don't get paid they can't pay their rent and other bills.

advice.only2's picture

The problem is a lot of people work jobs that don't have any type of leave program. If you call in and take off, then that's it you are out, you don't get paid for that shift, oh and by the way if they feel you are doing this too often they could fire you. It's not that people aren't trying to be there for their kids, it's that they don't have a choice not to show up for work.

Crap half the people I work with on this installation show up sick 99.9 percent of the time and we have leave programs in place. It's not always about parents being lazy and not wanting to be there to take care of their kids, it's about not having the ability to do so.

ladybug1974's picture

I guess i never had that ,, i have been lucky that every place i worked, family comes first always have 

Swim_Mom's picture

Just sat in a conference room for 8 hour meeting with 2 (seemingly healthy) attendees who had flown in from Europe. I am furious. I would have looked bad to just walk out - and I was one of the presenters. My company is a Fortune 100 multi-national so a lot of travel happens - now there are restrictions in place as of this week. To me this was reckless endangerment. Yes I know it is probably low risk - but I was so uncomfortable all day long over this. I have fairly bad asthma so I would be in trouble. I put in a call to Employee Relations when I got home. Now it's time for some wine with my husband.


Thankfully both my older 2 kids' university, and my youngest's high school are going to e-learning.

sunshinex's picture

Although I understand how hard this must be on parents who cannot miss work for financial reasons, it is out of hand. Keep your children home if they are sick. There are lives at risk, and quite honestly, you should have planned for the cost of feeding your children before having them. Maybe it's just me, but I'm a big believer in taking care of your children's needs on your own. Part of that is having an emergency savings ready for a situation where you're out of work for any reason. I understand this isn't possible for everyone, but it's frustrating to see this sickness spreading because schools won't close because they're someone's child's main source of food. 

It's sad, but it's not fair to others to have their children infected because you send yours to school sick, ya know? 

Livingoutloud's picture

All schools in our state are closed. By a governor. So take it up with your governor. Your anger is misplaced 

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

My anger was not misplaced. The government should not need to handhold parents to let their sick 13 year old stay at home by themselves. I'm not an elementary school teacher. Too many parents are willfully helpless.

Harry's picture

He can not close the schools because parents will have to take off of work to take care of there kids.  And kids will not get a good meal.  So in order to elective mayor you must keep school open to feed the kids 

Disneyfan's picture

Just because a politician says something,  doesn't mean it is true.

Those same students managed to eat during Christmas break and last month when we were out during mid winter recess. Those same students will eat in a few weeks when our schools are closed for 7days during spring break.

If this were really about meals, we would provide free breakfast and lunch during a shut down the same way we do during the summer.

Any child in NYC, regardless of income or what type of school they attend, (public, independent, homeschool...)can walk into a public school and sit down and eat.  The only requirement is that the food be consumed in the building. 

We do this Monday-Friday all summer.   This program has been in place since the 70s.  One thing NYC knows how to do is ensure that kids receive hot meals.

That line about kids not being able to eat if we close is BS.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

My rant about it is done. They closed my schools yesterday.

Have fun parents! All of these kids are of the age to stay at home alone, you aren't missing work, but you get to reap what you've sown as far as these rabid kids are concerned.

Best of luck!

advice.only2's picture

Maybe teaching isn't the best medium for you anymore. I know middle school is the hardest group to teach, and it takes special talent. I'm just saying you sound burned out and it's not healthy.

juststressedbeyondbelief's picture

Noooooo, too many people assume that as a teacher you're obligated to be a daycare provider and kennel keeper.

I love to teach, I'm the star Algebra I teacher in my building. Throw in an inclusion class or two, among a school with no discipline or consequences, and it's enough to send anyone over the edge.

Less and less teachers are willing to raise children for parents. I hold a professional certificate, but I'm one of the six in my department of sixteen. It's like that around any city, really. Teachers quit, their education declines, their behavior gets worse due to parents not raising their kids, paired with the fact that their teacher quit mid year-and they have no idea how to complete any of  the work. It just means that I have leverage for next year to modify my schedule for my own sanity, because my job is worth something. I wouldn't give that up in a million years.

It just means that if you don't raise your children to at least be somewhat respectful, in public school, it's likely that they'll have a long term sub that has no idea how to teach in front of the classroom, as those who actually hold certificates can choose to teach a more receptive audience, or the school risks losing them too.

Rags's picture

Shove the fevered little dumplings whose parents won't come get them into an isolated room or in a school bus in the parking lot and call CPS to come get them.  The duty to keeping the healthy kids healthy supercedes anything else.  Particularly when it comes to idiot parents who abandon their sick kids.  Those kids need to be in the system and those parents need to be stripped naked and dragged through the village by a team of horses.

Figureatively of course.