UPDATE 8/6/21: After I posted the below on Wed. August 4, on Thursday Jessica Gould of Gothamist wrote about the confusion of several principals as to what DOE actually expected them to do in terms of social distancing.
Jessica also sent them DOE the list of Tier one schools which I had received from a confidential source, listing 73 schools which the Department had originally admitted had no space for social distancing. Yet "the education department would not confirm or deny the veracity of the list."
Then last night, shortly after the article came out, CSA
sent around a message to principals saying that DOE
only expects those schools with the space for social distancing to do so. The message also said the following: "If additional staff is needed to maximize distancing, please make the budget request to your BCO in writing and copy your superintendent."
All parents and teachers should ask their principals if they have a plan for social distancing next year, and if so, what it is. If they say they lack staff but not space for this, please quote from the above and ask them to request more money from DOE to add teachers to do so. And let me know know what you hear, please, by emailing email@example.com Thanks!
August 4, 2021
Last night at the UFT delegate assembly, Michael Mulgrew said now, the DOE claims that they "have figured out 3 feet of social distancing for all schools except for 50. We have a hard time believing that."
See this sound file of his remarks at about 40 minute. At about 1:08 in, he said that the DOE told him that every class in every school will have to adhere to the three feet rule, except for those 50 schools.
This is literally incredible. The DOE originally said they had a list of 76 "Tier one" schools which were too overcrowded to socially distance, and so they would find auxiliary space for these schools, though they refused to provide the list of these schools publicly.
They also said there were more than 100 "Tier two" schools that would have to re-purpose gyms, auditoriums, and even storage closets as classrooms.
Yet many principals and even Mark Cannizzaro, the head of the CSA, publicly said that the number of the schools that would not be able to provide socially distancing was really longer. Our estimate suggested that fewer than half of all students could fit in a standard sized classroom, given current class sizes. According to the latest Blue Book from 2019-2020, 488,708 students were in schools that were at 100% or more -- about half of all students:
We finally did get the list of 73 "Tier one" schools from a reliable source this week, and created our own spreadsheet with their total enrollment and those of their co-located schools; see below.
Please be aware, however, that even if your child's school is not on this list, the actual list of schools too crowded to provide any distancing is likely much longer. Parents ggshould be asking their principals what the plan is to provide three feet of social distancing next year. A reliable source told me this week that he believed that the DOE had given up trying to find auxiliary space for even for "Tier one" schools, as they originally said they would.
Another disturbing factoid from Mulgrew's presentation, at about 38 minutes in: All students will be tested three times a year not just to discern their academic levels, but also for their social-emotional state, whose findings will go into a database. What assessments will be used for this purpose and what privacy protections will be used to protect this highly sensitive data in unknown. More on this soon.
The list of 73 Tier one schools along with their enrollment of 54, 558 students, along with about 10,000 students in their co-located schools, some of which are even more ovecrowded than the others, is here and below.