My name is Maud Maron and I am a public school parent.
This week marks the one year anniversary of closing our schools here in NYC. It is time to reopen our schools–all of our schools for all of our children.
The costs of the closures now clearly outweigh the benefits–and maybe they always did.
The prolonged school closures are not based in sound science.
Schools are safer for kids in terms of COVID and overall health and safety. Teachers are also safe to go to work now and most are now vaccinated.
I have a child in High School, a child in Middle School, a child in Elementary school and a pre-K student too. No matter the age, children need to be in school.
Children need to be taught by teachers in a classroom. Laptops will never be able to replace a teacher in a classroom.
Our kids also need to play sports, practice with their teammates and talk to their coaches. The social component of school, the extracurriculars and the friendships is crucial for children.
ONE YEAR IS TOO LONG for any child to go without school.
We need to open NYC Public schools for real.
And we can do it safely.
We have a lot of great speakers here that I will introduce to you shortly, but first let’s talk a little about what is actually going in NYC public schools TODAY.
Our schools ARE NOT OPEN.
Our Mayor likes to say NYC is the gold standard of re-opening. NOTHING could be further from the truth,
Did you know that a majority of American school students have been back to school FULL TIME — 5 days a week — since August 2020? Lots of other states have fully reopened this school year. Most other parts of New York State opened this school year FOR ALL STUDENTS.
AND THEY DID SO SAFELY.
What’s going on in NYC and why are over 700,000 NYC public school students locked out of school FOR an entire year?
New York City is using rules designed last summer by politicians and lobbyists–not scientists and doctors.
We need and deserve metrics based on facts and science that put children first.
We all hear about 6 ft social distance but did you know that in schools they actually use 8 feet?
NYC schools use the 65 sq ft rule which starts with 2 feet of personal space per student before adding on the 6 feet social distancing.
The result? Our children are divided into small cohorts and get to go to school, masked, for only 2 or 3 days a week. Three feet social distancing works! Other states have now adopted 3 feet social distancing metrics and the science supports it.
Well as any parent with kids in hybrid school can tell you. The two case closure rule turns open schools to closed schools at a moment’s notice.
It is not science based or even logical as it applies to schools that have 300 students or 3000 students.
Families are given under 24-hr notice that their school will close. It is impossible to find last minute child care. The constant unpredictable school closures was one of the reasons so many families were forced to choose full time remote.
Shutting down an entire school building because of two unrelated cases does nothing to keep students or staff safe but does turn open schools to close schools–which seems to be the goal of some. NYC kids and families deserve better.
NYC families were promised four opt in periods but like so many other broken promises, that promise was not kept.
The sudden announcement of one-shot opt-in back in October before vaccines started was unfair to families. Our COVID situation is very different now in March, with vaccinations underway. Families have seen the detrimental effects on their kids and want the option to opt back into schools.
80% of high school students are currently remote and no one is even considering bringing them back to school until Sept. and even that is not guaranteed.
In our city right now if you play for a private school team or a parochial team college scouts can come see you play, but not if you are a public school student.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, How is that equitable?
What else? Moms are paying the price.
Women are still down 5.4 million jobs from February, before the pandemic began. Women started 2020 on roughly equal footing with men, with women holding 50.% of jobs, but ended it holding 860,000 fewer jobs than their male peers.
Remote learning does not work for kids and it does not work for moms.
The learning loss is staggering and will not be made up for so many, especially our most vulnerable.
NYC kids and families have lost out on so much.
The time is now to open our schools.