March 13, 2020
I am calling for an immediate shutdown of NYC Public Schools.
As a former Community Education Council President for Staten Island I have helped guide parents and the Department of Education through some difficult times. None probably more notable than the PCB problem we had on Staten Island and in many city schools.
Now, with the Coronavirus, just like then, the Mayor and the Chancellor are dragging their feet and not acting in the best interests of our students, our parents, our teachers, and our school staff. It is simple to understand the fear our teachers have; basically, they are just like fish in a barrel, waiting for the Coronavirus to come to them. It’s not if our schools and staff begin to become infected – the infections have already begun.
If we allow the Coronavirus to get a foothold in our schools then surely the virus will spread from student to student to teacher to administrator and throughout the city within days and weeks. Our healthcare centers may be overrun with asymptomatic patients. Closing our schools now may help keep our children and families safer and reduce future burdens on our healthcare facilities. In the end, while I do believe that fear will be our greatest adversary, I believe that our schools should be closed.
If the mayor and chancellor wish to choose some school locations to remain open to operate as health centers for students, so be it, but to put an entire school system at risk for any other reason is senseless.
The governor and the mayor have already said that “Social Distancing” is a way to fight the spread of the Coronavirus and have put an end to all gatherings of over 500 people. Last time I checked, most NYC schools have more than 500 people. Why are our students, teachers, and parents being treated with such disregard?
Sam T. Pirozzolo
Vice President NYC Parents Union