Great news: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday gave a green light for schools in New York to reopen in September. Hear, hear.
The state’s 1 percent positive test rate for COVID-19 is well below the 5 percent threshold set by the World Health Organization. And though the city’s plan still needs the state Health Department’s OK, Mayor Bill de Blasio, to his credit, is eyeing in-class learning for at least part of the time.
Even teachers admit that remote learning doesn’t come close to in-school instruction, and it forces adults to be home with kids, making it hard for some to work at their jobs. So cheer Cuomo’s first step.
Alas, Cuomo didn’t help things by siding with teachers who don’t want to go back.
“Teachers are going to have to agree to come back,” he said. “If a teacher doesn’t show up, you don’t have a class.”
Well, yes. But why is Cuomo encouraging them? Besides, technically teachers are public employees, and it’s illegal for them to strike under the state’s Taylor Law.
The teachers’ union has already floated the idea of a strike and court action if it isn’t happy with the reopening plan. It’s also urging teachers and parents to sign its Change.org petition calling the city’s plan to reopen unsafe.
Plus, as The Post’s Selim Algar reported Friday, teachers at some city schools are launching letter-writing campaigns targeting parents and urging them to demand remote-only learning.
That does no one any favors — except, of course, the teachers.
No one wants to endanger teachers’ health — which is why those with underlying medical conditions can get exemptions. The city and schools should also mandate masks and distancing in classrooms.
But getting some in-person teaching is the right thing to do, for the mental health and development of our kids. We have to try to make it work.
Source: New York Post
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