In happier times: Hundreds of kids flood John O'Connel High in 2014 for an enrollment event. Photo by Andra Cernavskis

Instead, the SFUSD ceded the field to opportunists and charlatans.

Well, it happened. 

You can’t keep the windows and doors closed in a group setting because of a pandemic and you can’t keep them open because of a series of wildfires. 

You can’t send your kids to school because of obvious health concerns, but you can send them to a “learning camp” or “learning hub” with a dozen or more kids in the room staffed by a non-unionized non-teacher — which, from a health perspective, doesn’t make the most sense.

And, yes, the doors and windows are shut. 

Right now, the luckiest among us are working from home — but maybe “working” is pushing it at times. If you have kids, there’s probably a small person seated at a small desk not far from your own and grappling with technological struggles eerily and painfully reminiscent of those your own parents are grappling with. 

This is not a recipe for productivity. And it’s just a matter of time before every child in that kindergarten class overhears a profane off-the-record discussion with a city official.

Sorry, teacher. 

That’s my problem, but let’s be real here: The parents and workers who’ll suffer disproportionately are women. More is always expected of women, and they give more. The pandemic has only exacerbated and laid bare so many of society’s pre-existing conditions. 

A “solution” that involves working parents (read: moms) being forced to supervise their remote-learning kids — if they have the luxury of working from home — is fighting a losing battle with the dictionary. Parents (read: moms) need to earn a living. So it’s not surprising that they would proactively look for solutions. 

What is surprising is how little help they’re getting from public institutions. 

Sixth-grader Rosa Jaramillo looks at books while picking up supplies from Everett Middle School. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

By now, even if you’ve made every attempt to strenuously avoid it, you’ve probably come in contact with information about so-called “pandemic pods.” 

Now, “pod” is just the Centers for Disease Control’s preferred nomenclature for a small group. This just implies a handful of students in an educational setting; it’s not an inherently politically loaded term. 

But it has come to be. 

You’ve read the newspaper stories and op-eds and you may even have perused the jaw-dropping San Francisco-spawned Facebook group that has swelled to more than 40,000 members. The connotation “pandemic pod” now conjures up is of privileged, predominately white parents essentially re-creating schools in their gardens or garages and poaching teachers — perhaps from public school systems — in a perfect amalgamation of elitism and disaster capitalism.

Well, that’s one way of doing things. But it’s not the only way. And that’s not what Gail Cornwall wanted. 

Cornwall is a lawyer, a journalist and a mother of three kids at San Francisco’s Rooftop School — a public K-8 in the San Francisco Unified School District. Rather than weaken the public school system while reinforcing societal inequity, Cornwall and other parents reached out to get the school involved. And her request was reciprocated. 

Rooftop staffers spent scores of hours dividing up the student body into small cohorts on an equitable basis. Right now, the “pods” are meeting on their own time, largely on Zoom, with some of them planning for physically distanced outdoor gatherings — scootering in the park and whatnot. 

But as San Francisco turns the tide on this pandemic, perhaps students could meet for instruction out-of-doors (smoke permitting) or ramp up toward school as we knew it. 

In short, this is a start, and a promising one. The nascent program, and its efforts to actually minister to parents’ needs in a helpful and equitable way within the existing system, was reported on in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Observers both within SFUSD and without were hopeful — and encouraging. 

And yet, a multitude of sources have confirmed that SFUSD has abruptly cut ties with this program. 

Officials at Rooftop — and, subsequently, every city public school — have been instructed to not proactively participate in parents’ attempts to form social groups or pandemic pods. 

That leaves parents on their own, unable to consult with educational professionals regarding matters of education. Cornwall confirms that, during the predictable churn of new students arriving at school in the opening week, she and other parents had to sort the kids into cohorts, not educational professionals. 

“Parents have had to try to weigh equity concerns,” she says. “Which we are much less equipped to do.” 

That’s a problem. It’s exactly the scenario the Rooftop parents and staff were trying to avoid.

Well, it happened. But why? 

Certainly the district can rattle off any number of health and safety issues regarding students, parents, and teachers potentially commingling in person — which, of course, boil down to liability concerns. 

But there are currently no pending plans for in-person instruction. So, in the end, this appears to be a labor issue. 

SFUSD has an MOU [memorandum of understanding] with the teachers’ union for distance learning,” reads a statement sent to me from the district. “Neither the Collective Bargaining Agreement nor the Distance Learning MOU address the creation of learning pods. Any work asked of teachers in this regard would need to be negotiated.

Susan Solomon, the president of the United Educators of San Francisco, confirmed that her union threatened to file an unfair labor practices claim if teachers at Rooftop or elsewhere were expected to assist with pods. A recent meeting held at Rooftop — 24 teachers purportedly attended — was voluntary. But Solomon notes that this is still problematic; younger probationary teachers are incentivized to attend regardless. 

Solomon tells me, however, that she’s not reflexively against the district cooperating with parents on this issue. It just needs to be negotiated. 

But SFUSD, facing pushback from the union and contemplating liability issues, didn’t take that tack. It didn’t question the union’s claim or work toward a mutually approved solution: Rather, it rapidly cut ties with the program with all the subtlety of college-town cops busting up a student party. 

Solomon said she, too, is concerned that disaffected San Francisco parents may now turn to grifters and opportunists who either don’t care about undermining public schools — or see that as a boon. 

That’s a concern now. And it figures to be a concern in November, when we vote. 

“As a school district, we can’t take the position that parents just have to figure it out,” said Matt Alexander, a former 20-year San Francisco Unified teacher and principal now running for school board. “Rooftop’s model was really promising. But the district shut down a lot of the conversations. They came in and said ‘stop, you cannot do that.’” 

The district, Alexander continues, has lawyers on hand who should help navigate these issues — not just devise excuses to abandon them. 

“What frustrates me so much when I see the situation at Rooftop is it reminds me of how our district too often tries to manage things top-down,” he continues. “Instead of seeing this promising model and saying ‘we’re going to help this school and support it and figure it out,’ they kind of just shut this thing down.” 

How unfortunate. We all have our windows and doors shut out of necessity. But, in the case of SFUSD, that doesn’t mean people won’t still walk away. 

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38 Comments

  1. So anyone who isnt an SFUSD teacher seeking to support youth learning is a “grifter”? Very disrespectful to hardworking nannys, tutors, and out of school professional. This article failed to describe a single actual “grifter” so it just comes off like the author is smearing those of us who actually will/have to serve kids out in the field.

    1. Agree the article quotes a union representative insulting non-union professionals and then drops it in the headline. If students are intended to learn “on their own” by zoom, why can’t non-unionized teachers or childcare providers help maintain order and distance and technical troubles and lunch and bathroom breaks? Parents are expected to fill this exact role, in addition to keeping their own jobs, and most parents are not unionized teachers, either. Oh, right, it’s a labor issue, not an actual teaching problem. The union can stop schools from participating in a more equitable distribution of resources if they must, but they can’t stop parents from hiring competent adults to help them navigate this madness, which is exactly what is and will be happening this season.

  2. This article reeks of being written by some kind of Karen. There are so many challenges left unaddressed here. So sorry that your job that you got to keep has you working from home. Be glad your kids can eat.

    1. >So sorry that your job that you got to keep has you working from home. Be glad your kids can eat.

      How is this at all helpful?

      So sorry you were offended by this article, but people are dying in Brazil.

      There are tons of challenges, which SFUSD has failed to address. With it’s stellar track record of inequity it’s no suprise they again have failed to take any real action in addressing those challenges . Note that children are required to attended online classes (attendance translates to revenue!) but teachers are not require to teach more than 2 hours per day.

      1. Incorrect. Teachers are required to spend two hours a day on LIVE (Zoom) instruction. But the rest of teachers’ mandatory seven + hour workday is spent getting resources to students, designing digital learning platforms, giving feedback on the work students submit, making phone calls to parents, planning curriculum with colleagues.

    2. Although this comment sounds a little harsh/direct, I agree. I think if Rooftop parents/PTA are upset about the district response, they should take what they think is a solution and first start applying it to see how they can make it work with all SFUSD schools, especially those with a student body/families that can’t take this type of pod set up on their own. If they can prove that ALL schools can truly do it, not just their more affluent public school, then that says something worth considering.

  3. As societal norms, institutions and conventions continue to break down from lack of centralized funding these local support pods are what is going to naturally coalesce, not just in education but also in terms of food, health and work. Making the switch will be difficult for many but make no mistake, things are never going back to what they were before. Probably best to learn how to work within the frame rather than reject it, institutions that disallow innovation based on liability concerns without offering options will be in dire trouble.

  4. All schools, public and private, are being very strongly advised not to discuss learning pods with families. It’s not just an SFUSD thing.

  5. Unions want more. They aren’t going to do anything for “free”. Nice try, but we like having a big bureaucracy here and love to squash things that aren’t beneficial to the union.

  6. Joe,

    When I taught there (mid-90’s) ,,,

    The President of the Board of Education had a side business offering
    Murder For Hire.

    His name is Keith Jackson

    And, I crossed him!

    Lucky to still be here.

    Ahhh, education,

    h.

  7. “..boil down to liability concerns.”

    Joe’s blogs here as dismissive of liability. But liability is how responsibility and accountability is allocated in a society that operates through rule of law. When experiments in education(or anything else) cause verified harm to someone, liability is the only sure way the victim can be recognized as a victim and receive a measure of justice.

    It’s moral that people taking risks also take liability so they will bear the burden if those risks result in harm. Parents who choose to experiment with pods should either convince the school board to take the risks or take the risks on themselves.

    1. True Story,

      Lady on Pacific Heights hired me to wash the front of her mansion.

      Did more of the houses on the street that Summer.

      As I started to climb the 30′ ladder she called out:

      “Do you have liability?”

      I shouted back:

      “Of course!!”

      Hell, as an old contractor friend used to say:

      “I’ve been lying about my ability since I was yeah high.”

      Go Giants!

      h.

  8. Whether the district supports them or not, the development of school-based pods will replicate the stark inequities within SFUSD. I do not doubt that staff at each school could “spen[d] scores of hours dividing up the student body into small cohorts on an equitable basis,” as was done at Rooftop, so that each student gets the education, respect, and support she needs to thrive – not equal, but equitable. Even the most successful intra-school push for equity, however, will not address the continued inter-school inequities that exist because of a whole series of never-ending social, historical, political and economic realities.

    One sees these systemic issues when reviewing SFUSD schools collectively. Some schools are called “good,” others “average,” and still others “bad.” I don’t need to name any of these schools. You can Google it yourself to satisfy your prurient interest. If all San Francisco public schools were like Rooftop, their equity-driven approach might be successful and replicable throughout the district. But not all – not even most – SFUSD schools are like Rooftop.

    Deep segregation exists within SFUSD, the result of many factors. Some schools have a “diversity” of students, while others have a primarily or nearly exclusively high-need student body. Those schools are also “diverse” – racially, linguistically, culturally, and in terms of immigration and refugee status – but still high need and underserved.

    Pod success at a school like Rooftop would look a lot different from pod success at a school where most students have unreliable internet access, live in small apartments or SRO rooms, are English learners and have non-English-speaking parents, and who can’t even get SFUSD meals because the pick -up spots are too far away and the only available adult needs to stay home with the young kids who are distance learning.

    1. In a perfect world, SFUSD would use the money recently donated by our local tech billionaires and innovate in the direction of authentic equity, not their own version of it.

      Add some human professionals to the schools who need it to create more equitable pods, create white zones and park hotspot enabled (empty) school buses in identified neighborhoods (like other cities are doing), giving out actual physical books in a variety of languages. From my own recent experience, a very basic Kindle and some instructions on how to download ebooks from SFPL.

      So many ideas that will die at the BOE and administration doorsteps.

    2. Scott, thank you for such an eloquent response. I appreciate you highlighting the inter-school inequities in our district and how the Rooftop pods could exacerbate them. I suspect that 1) President Solomon is also extremely mindful of these inequities and that 2) the union’s response was molded in great part by their attention and consideration of our high-need schools. My child’s school fits the profile of the school in the last paragraph of your response. Your analysis is spot on.

      The NY Times podcast “Nice White Parents” should be required listening for all interested in SFUSD issues of equity.
      https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nice-white-parents/id1524080195

      1. Brandee, thanks for including the link to “Nice White Parents.” I didn’t know Mission Local allowed links.

        A year and a half ago, I wrote an online review of the high-needs elementary school my daughter attended. I described my experiences there, and gave an overview of the many things the school offers to students and their families. It was a fair, honest, and positive review – which is exactly what should be offered to others to read. Recently, I looked for the review on Yelp where it was published. Apparently, my honesty, details, and positive comments about the school were too much for Yelp. Somehow Yelp decided that my review of the school “is not currently recommended.” Although you can still find my review, it is hidden from the main page for the school – though not obviously a link, clicking on the “warning” Yelp offers will take you to the review.

        It’s not that I have a lot of interest in Yelp reviews of anything, but I do find it rather disturbing that they censored my fair and accurate review but not the one that is entirely negative and lacking in detail. That a website would collude with others to reinforce the “bad” reputation of a school says something rather unflattering about the website to say the least.

        Despite Yelp’s political decision to hide a positive review of the school, I stand by what I said about it. Elsewhere, and a couple years earlier, I wrote about the school and ended with the following:

        “These kids and their families are the direct target of Trump’s greed and rage. As that Orange Cracker and his shithole crew of racists, misogynists, Christian zealots, education privatizers/charterizers, ‘America-first’ ignoramuses, wall-and-ban xenophobes, and planet-killing morons devise ever-more schemes to make the US worse, [this elementary school] offers a strong counter-narrative to their fiction of lost greatness. A place that nurtures vulnerable children is a vastly better place than where Trump wants us to be.”

        Apparently Yelp felt threatened – or thought their “users” would be misinformed – by a review that they thought might “trick” someone into sending their child to the school. Too bad Yelp sided with the shithole crew and dismissed the hard work of all the teachers, administrators and staff at the school. Much worse, however, is that Yelp reiterated the bullshit that is ceaseless spewed about the children who attend that particular school and others like it.

  9. SFUSD has always been really stunted in their ability to adapt and innovate with ideas from the outside.

    I was a proud SFUSD teacher and heavily involved parent who left the district, was fortunate enough to qualify for financial aid, and sent my children to private high schools. I tutor students who are second language learners in public schools.

    In my direct experience, the district’s favorite word is NO — to innovative and disseminate school-level ideas involving BIPOC students, students with special needs, students whose first language isn’t English, students who live in poverty, and those mostly forgotten students flailing in the gray zone. SFUSD will never admit to their failings, but they are clear and present to anyone involved at the school level. No PR campaign will ever tell the truth to those on the ground.

    This refusal to innovate from the ground up during this pandemic is going to lead to skyrocketing high school drop out rates, plummeting skill levels and confidence amongst all of our students, especially those who are vulnerable, and increased disparities amongst our city’s children and families.

    My kids went to Rooftop for middle school, and their innovative ideas give their students a true leg up in their education. I could write a book on the incredible learning my kids took with them to high school. I can say the exact same for their elementary education at Rosa Parks, which does not have the same PTA wealth, but has the same spirit of innovation and creativity, paired with strong and supportive administration.

    There are schools all over our district that have really wonderful, well researched and considered programs that could be easily replicated with minimal cost to the district. Raise the water, all the boats float.

    Instead of saying NO, SFUSD needs to listen and learn. Be humble and learn lessons from the field. The union is not the bad guy here. SFUSD needs to allow schools to share and learn from each other rather than shut these ideas down.

    And I fully support Ashley in her comment about “grifters.” One of the things that Rooftop and Rosa Parks (and so many others) do well is their out-of-school time programming, much of which involves professionals who are hardworking, knowledgeable, and care for our kids. Teachers, administrators, and most parents all know and appreciate these people.

    1. YES! Thank you! SFUSD never admits any fault in all this but will point out anyone willing to go out in direct service as some type of villian? INSANE! It’s truly dysotopian logic. I commend Rooftop, working in a facility that’s setting up “pods” for low income youth, I’ve seen some really terrific, ambitious teaching and community building in just the first week. The level of journalism in this article is just pathetic considering the author wishes to make other people out as “grifters”. Where is the proof, anecdotal or otherwise that anyone pursuing work as a nanny or pod tutor is a “charlatan”, “grifter”, or a “fraud”? Or is this just the author’s middle class bias against professional nannys (who, sorry not sorry may demand every bit of living wage they can get, given their professional credentials and the current hazardous conditions)? Comes off like the author just had an entitled conniption when he found out that a nanny may command an hourly rate that rivals of what he makes writing unsubstantiated insults like this. If a nanny is making top dollar per hour right now , GOOD FOR THEM THEY DESERVE IT BUT BY THE WAY MOST PEOPLE DOING FRONT LINE ESSENTIAL CHILDCARE ARE NOT MAKING MUCH ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I’m livid and after my campaign regarding this unreal slander am never supporting Mission Local again because this is just irresponsible journalism.

      1. Hi there.

        I’m sorry it wasn’t clearer, but the opportunists and grifters I’m more focused on aren’t front-line workers but disingenuous school choice advocates and ed-tech types rebranding themselves overnight (as well as hucksterish third-party outfits). I put in a link to make that easier to glean.

        Respectfully, you seem to have misconstrued the thrust of this article and then propelled that into a concatenation of other faulty assumptions. To read this article and claim I’m irritated by childcare workers earning too much is an inspired miscomprehension.

        I’m sorry you won’t be supporting Mission Local, but that’s your right.

        Best,

        JE

        1. Perhaps next time you infer out of school providers are “grifters” you will think to have an ounce of specificity while name calling us. I understand the point you just described here, I fear too there will be a HUGE attack on public education by corporate charters, etc throughout the Covid crisis in education. However, that was not explained whatsoever in your article, so the task is on you to make your point clear while launching such slander. I wouldn’t have taken it personally if you made half an effort to actually highlight your point about corporate outfits seeking gain in all this, instead of making rather broad statements that workers attempting to provide in person youth services are somehow shady. It’s like those of us putting ourselves on the line and going out to do the work are somehow invisible and it’s deeply upsetting, you can’t possibly understand that. I didn’t fail as an informed reader here, that’s what you did as a professional journalist the second you started publishing these insults with no back up or explanation.

      2. Ashley,

        I send 20 buckaroos to Mission Local a month cause I think Joe’s best writer in town.

        Don’t always agree with him but did I mention … ?

        I think he’s best writer in town a deserves by heartfelt and meager patronage.

        Go Giants!

        h.

  10. This headline from the SF Parks & Recreation Newsletter: “Community Learning Hubs Prepare to Launch Following New Health Order”. It describes Mayor Breed’s approval for a cooperative hub/pod venture between DCYF and Recreation and Parks with services provided to “select families including: HOPE SF and public housing residents; SRO residents; homeless youth; foster care youth; English language learners; African American, Latinx, Pacific Islander and low-income Asian families.” Does “the community” make the assumption that all African Americans, Latinx and Pacific Islanders are low-income? Are low-income Caucasians excluded? If I were a white parent with disposable income and chose to spend it on a tutor for my child who may have special needs, am I acting out of privilege or responsibility and love?

    1. My response to your last question is it isn’t either/or it’s both. How you show responsibility and love is a choice. Would you say Lori Laughlin was acting out of either privilege or responsibility and love when she maneuvered to get her daughter into USC?

      1. I’d say providing your children with an education when the adults in their society are failing them, in order to advance their own agendas, is the role of a parent and you’re a pretty awful parent if you’re doing otherwise.

  11. I wish that SFUSD had offered parents more support in forming pods so that it could be done in a more equitable way. It’s still going to be inequitable, which is a bad outcome, but at same time, many parents are trying to do the best they can (what if you have to work, with no one to watch the kids? What if your child has an IEP or is suffering from depression?). Our PTA did a good job of communicating with parents that, while it did not support pods, there were questions parents could consider to keep equity at the forefront of any side-efforts they were taking. I was appalled to see Board of Ed members on Facebook and Medium trashing parents for scrambling to put together solutions (that worsen equity) rather than taking the opportunity to provide guidance on how TO create more equitable outcomes.

  12. To clarify, our PTA was explicitly not taking -any- stance on pods – pods weren’t the point. They were simply communicating with parents about considerations for keeping equity front of mind in however parents were engaging with others.

  13. SFUSD is a horrible school district that has failed all 54,000 of their students. I feel bad for the teachers that are hostages of this corrupt, inept institution. And I am so angry that the district is working to undermine anything parents are doing to tread water in this ridiculous situation. The satirical fact that “learning hubs” can apparently safely operate with 12 kids and non-unionized caregivers, whereas our schools can figure out NO way to operate safely out doors, is a travesty. The school board members should be so ashamed of themselves for not standing up for the kids in the district. Distance learning is the worst of all worlds and they’ve received millions in aid that should have gone directly towards making in-person learning safe. The last week of my kids’ classes have involved 80% of the time teaching them how to use “speaker view” and “gallery view” on zoom, how to mute themselves, how to click on various links.

    1. So the students are learning tech literacy in their first week of school. Those kind of skills are highly valuable in our increasingly online world. What kind of learning do you think happens during in- person classes the first week of school anyways? Parents are really grappling with the realization that they have taken their free babysitting for granted too long. Everyone needs to understand that the district has prioritized safety, health, and equity. If you can’t see that, then you need to check your privilege.

      1. What do kids learn? Let’s see: How to be social, and interact with other kids, how to write (on a piece of paper, sorry if that’s too antiquated for you.), how to interact and learn in a group situation, how to count, how to do math, how to read. There is zero equity in shutting down public school and making every parent homeschool. That’s eliminating a public service and increasing inequality. I actually have kids in school, so I know this. Telling people you know nothing about and who don’t know you to “check their privilege” is just dumb. You don’t know their situation, and they don’t know yours. I do know parents, including single parents for whom English is their second language, living with three kids in one room in a shared apartment trying to figure out how to work and school their kids. And the district has not provided them with a safe effective solution. I’m talking real people not some bs abstraction. Maybe it’s fun for you to watch a grown person cry because they don’t know how to help their kid try navigate first grade online, and they have to work, so they have to leave their kid alone at home, but it’s not fun for me. And, you know what, the sfusd and the teachers union waited till August to discuss the fall semester, because they did not want to actually solve the problem. They did not want to consider outdoor learning, they did not want to consider pods, they did not want to look into what other countries were doing to re-open school. I attended the Zoom meetings between the parents and the sfusd and they were just feeding us a line. And why? Because covering their asses is more important to them than the welfare of children.

      2. Calling public education free babysitting is insulting to every teacher, family, and caregiver who is trying their best to raise the future people who will care for you in your old age and improve the world from the mess we are creating.

        We live in a society that requires most families to send both parents to work in order to put food on the table. We also live in a society that opened bars and restaurants before it opened schools and children’s programs.

        Think about those two things before you judge families who are struggling.

  14. What a missed opportunity at the expense of children! The district and union pod shamed the teacher’s at Rooftop, and made them second guess doing the right thing. Instead of being proud of themselves for taking on equity in a direct way, everyone at the school gets a gag order. I for one am very proud of the teachers at Rooftop for getting as far as they did. The idea of the school lifting a finger over the summer. Oh my god, how shameful. Throw everyone in jail for caring about kids during a pandemic. What a horrible example of teachers going above and beyond during a crisis, and doing what is needed. The mission statement for SFUSD is “every day we provide each and every student the quality instruction and equitable support required to thrive in the 21st century.” I guess it should say “every day EXCEPT DURING THE SUMMER OR VACATION.” And if you do anything during vacation or the summer, the union and district will join evil forces to remind you of your place. That you work for them. That you should only care about pieces of paper like an MOU than fighting to ensure that the mission statement happens every day. Ugh, what a way to treat well intentioned, brave educators. I’m sorry Rooftop that you were treated this way. EVERYONE AT THIS SCHOOL should be proud of what they tried to do, and we should all be supporting them. Thanks Joe for exposing the corruption!!!

  15. Fundamentally, what is necessary to deal with the myriad of challenges during Covid is innovation and flexibility and, collectively — be it the Board of Education, the Teacher’s Union or, in this case, the Administration — SFUSD is apparently incapable of rising to the moment.

    1. Is anyone surprised? Nothing else in our city works particularly well and it seems like anything our local government touches increases in cost by about 5-10x while dramatically reducing in quality.

      The idea that you’re then shaming people for trying to provide for their children despite this dysfunction is a complete joke.

      Do you think anyone in City Hall cares what we think about the way they are running the schools during the pandemic?

      Do you think throwing more money at this problem would fix it?

      Teacher pay should be prorated to reflect the 2 hours of zoom instruction they are doing along with the amount of information the children are actually absorbing. If this doesn’t provide a sufficient salary, maybe they should push their union to allow for small group instruction in parks for a full workday. The school district administration is massively bloated, so I’m sure they can find enough bodies to staff pods of 8-10 kids (maybe in 2 half day shifts).

      The idea that they can half ass this and still collect their money is a sham and only reinforces the teachers union vs students narrative.

  16. I don’t have kids but if I did I would not live in the city and I would home school them before I would deal with the political insanity described here.

  17. I really don’t understand this impulse to trash the teachers’ union for being reluctant to strand their members on the front lines of an ongoing pandemic. The teachers and union have every right and reason to push back.

    People are desperate to be rid of their kids — me too! — so they construct narratives to justify opening schools for in-person instruction. Or they do some non-scientific and self-serving risk assessment to convince themselves that pods or cohorts are a reasonably safe and balanced approach. There is vastly insufficient evidence to support this; and if it goes terribly wrong, teachers will bear the brunt.

    It is a hard thing for working parents to accept, but keeping the kids home may be the wisest course, despite the deleterious effect on kids, parents, and careers. I am reminded of something Dr. Fauci said early on (I am paraphrasing): the *best* case scenario is that we shut down and shelter in place; and in three months we all look back and say, “Why did we have to do all of that? What a huge overreaction that was, much ado about nothing.”

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