Friday, May 22, 2009

The Impossible Dream

A lot of people are pissed at the mayor and the chancellor for sitting on their hands during this entire flu epidemic. I know that neither of these guys is interested in mending fences, but there's an easy thing they could do to help patch things up.

My next door neighbor teacher went home with flu symptoms yesterday. She is at least the 20th teacher to catch this bug. Just so you know, this teacher never takes off. For as long as I've known her, which has been several years, she been out maybe two days, tops. So when she takes off, I know she must be deathly ill.

The point is that the flu started going around my school almost immediately after it spread through St. Francis Prep, which is quite a few weeks ago now. My fellow teacher got the flu because she is far too dedicated to take off, and for many weeks came into contact with obviously sick kids. Ditto with hundreds of teachers across the city.

Then there are those teachers who dragged themselves into school because they didn't have days in the bank or were afraid of getting LIFs for excessive absences if they took off. Many were truly sick but didn't stay home, as per the Mayor's grudging advice, because they knew they could be hammered for it. In the meantime, they helped the epidemic spread.

So my idea is that the mayor should grant amnesty to anyone who took off for a documented case of flu in the last three weeks by restoring the days in their sick banks. This would encourage truly sick teachers to stay at home where they belong when they are genuinely ill from a disease that clearly was spread through the schools. It would slow the spread of any future outbreaks of new strains of flu. The mayor could make clear that this is an exceptional case, and that for known flu strains, you should just get the flu shot. But in this case, teachers had no options. It's nothing they could have prevented.

Also, it's just plain not fair that teachers whose schools were closed got to stay home, healthy or not, but teachers whose schools were open had to go in or lose days, despite being sick or risking sickness.

I know this will never happen, but it should. It would buy the mayor much needed good will at almost no cost. It would encourage teachers to take off in the future when truly sick and prevent further spread of disease. But I know Mayor Quixote and Sancho Klein will never go for it.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

(In the interest of full disclosure, I have not had the flu so this wouldn't affect me one bit)


Chaz said...

Mr. Talk:

If we close the schools who will babysit the kid? As for forgiving absences, never happen.

NYC Educator said...

Don Quixote indeed. I like the idea, but I don't Mayor Mike mollycoddling maestros.

FidgetyTeach said...

This makes sense. Sense is not good politics for the Mayor and Friends.

NYC Educator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NYC Educator said...

Oops--should say "I don't envision Mayor Mike mollycoddling maestros."

This is the kind of stuff that is really embarrassing for nitpicking English teachers like me.