The New York City teachers union is furious that students will continue to learn through a spring break previously scheduled for this week.
The break, from April 9 through April 17, comes just a few weeks after the district closed all city schools and transitioned students and teachers to an online system in a move to combat the coronavirus. New York City officials want to keep students focused on remote learning to encourage continued social distancing for the “health (and) wellbeing of all,” Schools Chancellor Richard Caranza said.
“We are confident that continuing remote learning will help ensure that families adhere to social distancing in the coming weeks, which is imperative to slowing the spread of the virus and keeping New Yorkers safe,” Carranza told educators in a letter on Friday, according to Patch.
I can’t believe that you say you took into the account all the work the teachers and the students have been doing but you still continue remote learning!!! We need a break unless y’all are giving us a month off on May !!!!! #nycschools #nycdoe
— loyal girl (@loyalgirl22) April 4, 2020
But United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew contends it’s a slap in the face to the union’s 200,000 members who were looking forward to the day off for Passover and Good Friday, the New York Post reports.
“With this step, Mayor de Blasio shows that he does not recognize just how hard you have been working during these stressful and anxiety-filled times,” Mulgrew wrote in a letter to teachers. “I know how seriously you take the role you are playing in this pandemic. You have kept learning alive and been a social and emotional lifeline for 1.1 million students and their families.”
Mulgrew said New York City officials used the current state of emergency declaration to unilaterally cancel the break.
“We recognize this may feel like a disappointment to many students and schools as we have all been working tirelessly in our transition to remote learning and very reasonably want a break,” Carranza wrote.
“We have finalized arrangements with our union partners at this time to provide four additional leave days to school-based staff who otherwise would have had Spring Recess. We will have additional details to share about these arrangements in the week ahead.”
Mulgrew promised teachers he would make the city pay extra for the added days, Patch reports.
“I will do everything in my power to see that you are properly compensated for your time,” he wrote to teachers.
Teachers sounded off about the decision on Twitter.
It should not be our jobs to keep kids off the street, its their parents jobs. Do you really think taking away Spring Break and having us upload more work is going to keep kids indoors if their parents arent enforcing it. Wake the fuck up.#Nycdoe
— Nroppola14 (@nroppola14) April 4, 2020
“@NYCMayor’s decision to keep @NYCSchools ‘open’ next Thursday and Friday during Jewish and Christian holidays is disrespectful to students’, parents’, and teachers’ social and emotional learning,” Bobson Wong posted.
“The lack of respect for the dignity of our work is what hurts most as a NYC teacher,” Patrick Sprinkle added.
Some are even planning a “walkout.”
#VirtualWalkOut #NYCDOE #SpringBreak
Our kids need a break, parents need a break and most importantly NYC teachers and admins. #WeNeedSpringBreak @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCMayor @NYCDOED15 @DOEChancellor pic.twitter.com/z93FDMMUDK
— ny.mj (@tweetnymj) April 6, 2020