That didn't last long - SOMSD teachers not returning for in-person instruction

sbenois said:

 Great.

And your suggestion is to do what?

 Certainly not more lawsuits. I have always believed the answers will come when we ask the right questions, yet all we hear talked about is the state of the ventilation system in the schools. There are bigger questions to ask than that.


The ventilation question is: Is it safe?

The other important questions I see and hear discussed all the time in newspapers and magazines, on TV, on radio and on social media. Not just in lawsuits.


So for years we, as management, have complained about our tax burden.  For years the administration has skimped on maintenance because us managers want every program and every initiative for our kids but without actually increasing our investment to match our demands.  Now that the teachers are saying they want ventilated classrooms that are safe they are the problem.  They should not even have to ask for this.  It should be automatic.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

A+++++++++++++++++++++++++


higgins said:

Homeowners contribute to the cause with each property tax increase, nearly 60% of every increase going on the school side, this is all well-known.

 As do the workers in S.O.  Yet, they were "pressured" to sacrifice. 


Are the municipal workers in a union? Just asking, I really don't know.

I see so many people trying to place blame for the situation we are in. Could some things be done better? Sure. Is a pandemic a terrible thing and difficult time to go through? 100%


Many public workers are in the Civil Service Association. It is a quasi union...  little power and less pull for strike or job actions. SC.A. may go to court to protect rights of their members. 

Public workers in some jurisdictions are in unions. Union County Parks were unionized when my uncle worked there.

Teacher union is more organized and powerful. N.J.E.A. locals in cities will strike. Locals and individual members will get legal help to defend abuse of contracts and changes in working conditions.

 Most teacher contracts have a clause that changes in working conditions must be negotiated. That is why the changes that result from Covid teaching are causing havoc in districts. You might disagree with this, but if your continued health were in question because of a change environment, would you want your union to challenge it?


FilmCarp said:

So for years we, as management, have complained about our tax burden.  For years the administration has skimped on maintenance because us managers want every program and every initiative for our kids but without actually increasing our investment to match our demands.  Now that the teachers are saying they want ventilated classrooms that are safe they are the problem.  They should not even have to ask for this.  It should be automatic.

Yes.

Think about if you were told that you had to go to your office job and the air conditioning or heating didn’t work, so it was either 95 in your office or 58. And during a pandemic, where you’ve been told how important it is to have fresh air, so you are putting your health at risk if you stay. 

Your boss has indicated that there’s a viable option to work at your desk at home. Do you stay in the office?

I know that the times the HVAC system at work wasn’t working, we were all sent home.



jimmurphy said:

Yes.

Think about if you were told that you had to go to your office job and the air conditioning or heating didn’t work, so it was either 95 in your office or 58. And during a pandemic, where you’ve been told how important it is to have fresh air, so you are putting your health at risk if you stay. 

Your boss has indicated that there’s a viable option to work at your desk at home. Do you stay in the office?

I know that the times the HVAC system at work wasn’t working, we were all sent home.


 As a town newbie with a son who just started at CHS, could you share what the issue is with the HVAC system? Is it totally non-functional? 


birdwatcher said:

 As a town newbie with a son who just started at CHS, could you share what the issue is with the HVAC system? Is it totally non-functional? 

 This is a very long discussion.  Some rooms are fine, some are not.  The building is old and has had maintenance deferred for years.  We just approved a big box nd for upgrades throughout the district, but that was pre covid.  Since covid hit we have found that our ventilators, some of which don't work at all, can't handle the high level filters needed for safe occupancy right now.  So then windows have to be open, but when it is 20 out that is tough.  This is a very short and not totally inclusive answer


birdwatcher said:

 As a town newbie with a son who just started at CHS, could you share what the issue is with the HVAC system? Is it totally non-functional? 

To add to FilmCarp's comments, these are old schools with radiators for heat, so heating comes from a boiler. There has been a boiler issue at one of the schools - I think Clinton, but for the most part the heat works.  Some rooms are very hot due to imbalances in the system. Others chilly under normal conditions.

Air conditioning, in the rooms that have it (some did not in the past, that may have changed), comes from window units, not a central air system.

Ventilation comes from opening windows or using filters on the air conditioners. Some of the AC units were broken - don't know the status now.

The problem right now is that adequate ventilation in many rooms can only be provided by opening windows.  As a result, those rooms are very cold because the heating system was not designed to operate with wide-open windows in the dead of winter - no heating system is.

Schools that don't have this problem are those with central forced-air and central AC. 

The district had issued bonds to make these improvements to the schools, but the changes will likely take a few years to undertake.

But for the pandemic, all would be fine in the interim.
  


FilmCarp said:

So for years we, as management, have complained about our tax burden.  For years the administration has skimped on maintenance because us managers want every program and every initiative for our kids but without actually increasing our investment to match our demands.  Now that the teachers are saying they want ventilated classrooms that are safe they are the problem.  They should not even have to ask for this.  It should be automatic.

Exactly.  And I think higgins showed where he/she is coming from (long posting on the previous page of quotes) with the reference to "a draconian desegregationist policy that steamrolls over family rights."  Um, right, balancing out our schools a little bit by changing who is assigned where, once grade at a time is a draconian attack on the American family.  I can't even.  


Maplewood parents planning to rally outside town hall today at 5pm. 


Jaytee said:

Maplewood parents planning to rally outside town hall today at 5pm. 

 I still don't know for what.  A safe way to return to school.  Who is against that?  Nobody.  The question is what is safe?


FilmCarp said:

I still don't know for what. A safe way to return to school. Who is against that? Nobody. The question is what is safe?

On that point, SOMA for Safe Return to School relies on an opt-in coronavirus database that gives this warning: “Please Note. The sample changes over time, so be cautious in interpreting overall trends. Please see the page ‘Consistent State Data’ to see data from states where we see consistent data over time.”

The Consistent State Data page has three states, only one of them currently deemed consistent. None of them are New Jersey.

The group itself puts safety this way: “The science overwhelmingly suggests that young children are not driving transmission of COVID-19, and schools are safe places for staff and students of all ages. This is particularly true with simple, low-tech precautions that include wearing masks and face shields, limiting close contact, and opening windows for ventilation.” (Italics mine.)


Does the science take into account that not all schools have the same capabilities when it comes to effective ventilation when it is 28 degrees out?    


susan1014 said:

Exactly.  And I think higgins showed where he/she is coming from (long posting on the previous page of quotes) with the reference to "a draconian desegregationist policy that steamrolls over family rights."  Um, right, balancing out our schools a little bit by changing who is assigned where, once grade at a time is a draconian attack on the American family.  I can't even.  

 


Susan, just stick around. Already BOE members have placed themselves at arm's length from the hail of criticism that is going to come from parents when they find out their parental right and duty to oversee their child's education is, in no small way, being taken from them. If, someone were to contend, kids being moved around to different schools is no big deal, then why do it in the first place. Scary thing is I have heard nothing about how creating racial balance in each school will increase test scores, which is how districts are ultimately judged, and for good reason. BOE members already are aware that this Berkeley-exported "desegregation" (a false claim, thus the quotes) operation has failed in other districts, as well as caused much controversy, including families moving away. 

In regards to expense, the disregard of parental rights, the inability to prove that the initiative will result in educational advancement, and the admitted failure of prior attempts to implement this plan, it is, unquestionably, draconian.


Through the decades we’ve always had controversy surrounding the schools. I remember when my eldest son had to be moved to Jefferson school, from Seth Boyden. “Desegregation” was a word used by parents back then. Then Seth Boyden became the school the people from Jefferson were anxious to get their kids into. My other kids ended up going to Tuscan, which turned out to be a great experience. I don’t know how it is today, but back then parents and teachers were working together much closer in resolving issues. I guess this pandemic has changed everything completely. 


higgins said:

Susan, just stick around. Already BOE members have placed themselves at arm's length from the hail of criticism that is going to come from parents when they find out their parental right and duty to oversee their child's education is, in no small way, being taken from them. If, someone were to contend, kids being moved around to different schools is no big deal, then why do it in the first place. Scary thing is I have heard nothing about how creating racial balance in each school will increase test scores, which is how districts are ultimately judged, and for good reason. BOE members already are aware that this Berkeley-exported "desegregation" (a false claim, thus the quotes) operation has failed in other districts, as well as caused much controversy, including families moving away. 

In regards to expense, the disregard of parental rights, the inability to prove that the initiative will result in educational advancement, and the admitted failure of prior attempts to implement this plan, it is, unquestionably, draconian.

@higgins 

Are you new to this district?  Plans for increasing equitable integration have been implemented in different ways in SOMSD for decades. This specific integration plan has been discussed for at least the past 4 years. 

You said the "test scores, which is how districts are ultimately judged, and for good reason"... but read again what you wrote closely. You provide a good description of the current use of tests and school ratings to incentivize segregation. You are describing the attempts at opportunity hoarding by those with greater financial means by threatening "White flight".

I think there is a creative way to address these dysfunctional systemic incentives and methods to maintain segregation... Perhaps we'll see this creativity in the next couple years.


jimmurphy said:

FilmCarp said:

So for years we, as management, have complained about our tax burden.  For years the administration has skimped on maintenance because us managers want every program and every initiative for our kids but without actually increasing our investment to match our demands.  Now that the teachers are saying they want ventilated classrooms that are safe they are the problem.  They should not even have to ask for this.  It should be automatic.

Yes.

Think about if you were told that you had to go to your office job and the air conditioning or heating didn’t work, so it was either 95 in your office or 58. And during a pandemic, where you’ve been told how important it is to have fresh air, so you are putting your health at risk if you stay. 

Your boss has indicated that there’s a viable option to work at your desk at home. Do you stay in the office?

I know that the times the HVAC system at work wasn’t working, we were all sent home.


I don't have a problem with teachers asking for adequate ventilation.  My problem with the teachers is they keep notifying the district at the last minute of their decisions.

The larger problem is the fact the district thought the ventilation was fixed (or being fixed), when in reality nothing was done.  Was anyone held accountable?  Was anyone fired?  What is being done now to fix the ventilation?  There should be teams of contractors roaming the district fixing everything humanly possible.


Speaking of ventilation--the following link is found on the first page of Montclair SD's website. Doesn't solve the problem but helps with transparency. Is SOMSD or teacher's union providing similar information?

https://www.montclair.k12.nj.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_889476/File/Parents/COVID-19/2021/Montclair%20Ventilation%20Summary%20-%20Middle%20Schools%20and%20High%20School%20-%20Jan%2011%202021.pdf


yahooyahoo said:

I don't have a problem with teachers asking for adequate ventilation.  My problem with the teachers is they keep notifying the district at the last minute of their decisions.

The larger problem is the fact the district thought the ventilation was fixed (or being fixed), when in reality nothing was done.  Was anyone held accountable?  Was anyone fired?  What is being done now to fix the ventilation?  There should be teams of contractors roaming the district fixing everything humanly possible.

 These teams of roaming contractors only exist in the imagination.  The ventilation motors that need repair have been sent out, but there are not many companies that do this work, and they are backlogged.


yahooyahoo said:

I don't have a problem with teachers asking for adequate ventilation.  My problem with the teachers is they keep notifying the district at the last minute of their decisions.

The larger problem is the fact the district thought the ventilation was fixed (or being fixed), when in reality nothing was done.  Was anyone held accountable?  Was anyone fired?  What is being done now to fix the ventilation?  There should be teams of contractors roaming the district fixing everything humanly possible.

As I am not privy to all of the communications between the teachers and the district, I leave room for the possibility that it’s just that the letters from the teachers to the district are a last resort and that the communication to parents comes at the 11th hour.

Agreed on the fixes. Why the issues couldn’t be resolved before November is beyond me.


Here's a snippet from the lawsuit:


notupset said:

Formerlyjerseyjack said:

 Let's riddle this.  U.S. death from auto accidents, 2019: 38,000 (Wikipedia).  

How many deaths of teachers who contracted the virus in schools - particularly from children (presumably once adults know the risks they can distance from each other in the school buildings and take other precautions)?  

And how many deaths of teachers from auto accidents? ... since you seem to want to compare apples to apples.  But, aside from that, it IS possible to teach virtually - NOT ideal, but possible and they have figured it out more or less now.  So with vaccinations just around the corner, why not wait until that can happen?  And why not redirect the energy toward lobbying for access for all teachers to get the vaccination asap? - ideally without having to play the current "games" to get an appointment that exist for those who are already eligible?


sac said:

notupset said:

Formerlyjerseyjack said:

 Let's riddle this.  U.S. death from auto accidents, 2019: 38,000 (Wikipedia).  

How many deaths of teachers who contracted the virus in schools - particularly from children (presumably once adults know the risks they can distance from each other in the school buildings and take other precautions)?  

And how many deaths of teachers from auto accidents? ... since you seem to want to compare apples to apples.  But, aside from that, it IS possible to teach virtually - NOT ideal, but possible and they have figured it out more or less now.  So with vaccinations just around the corner, why not wait until that can happen?  And why not redirect the energy toward lobbying for access for all teachers to get the vaccination asap? - ideally without having to play the current "games" to get an appointment that exist for those who are already eligible?

I imagine the BOE and SOMEA will end up there, with the agreement to wait until all teachers can be vaccinated. If that's the case, they should stop messing around with this date and that plan and focus on reopening in September. 


jamie said:

Over 100 came out to the rally:

https://villagegreennj.com/schools-kids/open-our-schools-rally-to-reopen-south-orange-maplewood-classrooms-draws-more-than-100-local-residents/

And the BOE files lawsuit against the teacher's union:

https://villagegreennj.com/schools-kids/south-orange-maplewood-board-of-ed-sues-teachers-union-seeks-to-force-educators-to-return-to-classrooms-immediately/

So, at meetings conducted via remote video, and after consultation with attorneys via phone or video, a lawsuit which will be heard via remote video has been filed to force in-person teaching.



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