New York Daily News
The two-case two-step
It was classic Bill de Blasio: Months after telling the city he was rethinking a hypersensitive, two-COVID-case school closure rule that the teachers union loves but just about everyone else loathes, the mayor Monday said he was indeed ditching the edict — but couldn’t say when it would happen or what will be put in its place. From BdB, that was TBD.
Of course it was, even with the deadline for opting back in to in-person learning bearing down on families on Friday.
The rigid regulation, set over the summer at the insistence of the UFT’s Michael Mulgrew, mandates that when two people in a school community are infected and the cases can’t be traced to the same source, a school shutters for 10 days. Unlike just about all other COVID regulations, which are sensitive to the size of the relevant population, it applies no matter the size of a learning community.
There’s no good for it. With schools public health reason enforcing masking and social-distancing rules, they have proven to be cooling saucers, not hotbeds for viral spread. There’s especially little need now, with educators now vaccinated en masse. Actually, as pandemic logic goes, the rule gets things backward; as ProPublica’s Eric Umansky puts it, “A school [i] won’t[/i] be shut down if there is evidence of some spread, but it [i]will[/i] be closed if there is no evidence of in-school transmission.”
All told, 2,373 New York City schools have had extended closures this academic year. And with alerts often coming the day or even the night before, the city has shredded the patience of parents, teachers and kids — the subset that affirmatively chose to be part of in-person learning.
Why, months after he said he was reviewing it, would de Blasio scrap a bad policy without having its replacement ready? Because he’s unprepared, deferential to the union, or both. We’d offer him remedial lessons in leadership, but more than seven years into his mayoralty, it’s far too late for that.