NYC Educator Says, “Enough! Who Will Teach Our Neediest Children?”

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I am exhausted. Stressed. Frustrated. Sad. The “back and forth” with the vaccine mandate for educational staff is just ridiculous. Three days before the “official“ start of school, the mayor proclaimed that CBO Pre-K teachers and staff who were contracted with the DOE would have NO testing option. We would be forced to get the jab, no ifs, ands or buts about it. 

Why does every other unionized group in NYC seem to have a testing option? Police, firefighters, and many more. It’s not fair. CBO staff floats somewhere between the categories of city workers and DOE employees, so we never know where we stand on anything. 

As of now, those who are unvaccinated are the only ones who have to do weekly testing and an injunction was just issued in a lawsuit involving ALL of the major unions that represent teachers and school staff, since Mayor Genius “mandated” the vaccine (with no testing option) without negotiating anything with the unions. There is a group of DOE teachers suing, as well as other lawsuits by Teachers for Choice and others. Hot mess!

Testing is the ONLY way to have any real time data on who is infected. Both unvaccinated and vaccinated people contract and transmit the disease. It is pointless to focus on vaccination. Futile. Schools are already seeing cases, and many teachers are vaccinated. This is partly because schools are doing even less testing than last year, classes are still too big, and there are still facilities’ issues that have not been addressed. 

My CBO PreK was open ALL of last year (we were deemed essential workers and told to come in while others, including DOE teachers, got to stay home) and didn’t have to close once (knock wood). Basically no one was vaccinated. Stop this nonsense!

Most 3KForAll and PreKForAll slots are in CBO sites like mine, and we have carried the burdens of both programs for decades. We are STILL severely and illegally underpaid, pay more into our insurance, and work longer hours and additional days, as compared to those in “big” DOE buildings. We are always subject to the rules and restrictions imposed by the city, mayor and DOE, but we are NEVER properly supported. Where are our “DOE” salaries and benefits? Are we partners or not? Are we “one” or not?

CSA is the principals’ union of which I am a part (although I receive about half the salary of an ASSISTANT principal despite having the qualifications of a superintendent, but I digress…). 

Last Wednesday, on a Zoom with members, the chat blew up at one point with Early Childhood Directors stating that they had received NO PPE – NONE). After receiving only ONE bundle throughout the entire year last year, I can’t say I was surprised. 

This vaccination push is NOT about health and safety. If that was the focus, our PPE would have arrived before school started. We would have full time school nurses. We would have 2 air purifiers in every classroom like the DOE says all classrooms have. I only count one in each. Where are the window screens that I have asked the chancellor (and many others) in writing for countless times? It is honestly almost laughable at this point. If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ve shed way too many tears over this.

As I said, I’m sad. I’m sad that because I almost died of a vaccine reaction in the past, I now might lose my job. Will this be an “acceptable” exemption? What will I do if it’s not? What will my teachers and staff members do? What about the parents? Lest we forget the young students? 

After two weeks of bonding with teachers and staff, how will they respond when some of them disappear? After all these children, families, teachers and staff have been through the past couple years, this is abhorrent and abusive. It is my belief that the system cannot sustain the losses that will occur if this is pushed through, and no testing option is allowed. 

There are already teacher, staff and administration shortages! Apparently the chancellor is trying to get subs. Subs? Can they write IEPs? Run schools? Support NYC’s most vulnerable families? I doubt it.

I am hearing story after story of teachers in DOE schools being told they were on a “list” of 62 other unvaccinated people. 

Enough. 

There are schools in poor neighborhoods with 120 staff vacancies and many that are in danger of closing because they can’t get teachers. 

Enough.

Stop spending millions of our tax dollars with TV commercials, brightly painted “vaccine trucks,” the chancellor jabbering on the radio, and all of this other crap. 

Properly fund our schools, allow a testing option for everyone (even require it if you want to), reduce class sizes, invest in basic mitigation measures like PPE, and put full time school nurses in every building where parents leave their “babies,” as the chancellor likes to call them. 

Enough.





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