Teachers at our local high school may go into work soon

One of our local high schools was supposed to start up on September 16, providing two mornings per week of in-person instruction (total of 6 hours per week of free daycare!) and the rest via Zoom (“hybrid”).

From the principal of Lincoln-Sudbury High School, on September 12:

I am very disappointed to share that I learned this morning that there was a crowded indoor and outdoor student party Friday evening that involved alcohol and complete lack of safety precautions to protect against the spread of COVID. Police were called to the scene. An estimated number of 15 students ran into the woods. They collected names from 32 other individuals. 13 of those turned out to be made up names. That means at least 13 plus 15 (28) known to be on site are unaccounted for. If these students had been identified they could be requested to be isolated from school, monitored and tested.

The Sudbury Board of Health is stating that we must start school in remote learning for 14 days from the known incident. On the assumption that students involved are more likely juniors or seniors I asked if we could bring in just 9th and 10th graders. The answer is no, because we don’t know that no younger students were involved or that students involved were not siblings of younger students. … We plan to return to in-person hybrid on Tuesday, September 29th.

I agree completely with the Board of Health that this is the most prudent course of action to take given what has taken place. After the intensity of hard work and planning that has been done to be able to start school with students in-person we are profoundly disappointed at this sudden change of plans. I know you must be as disappointed.

… If one person assumes risky behavior upon themselves it is not fair or safe to bring that risk upon others in a shared community.

So… because roughly 50 of the 1500 students chose to exercise what had been their First Amendment Right to Assemble (off campus, presumably at a parent’s house), the teachers don’t have to run any risk of in-person exposure.

(Masks and all-afternoon sanitization prevent coronavirus from spreading student-to-student or student-to-teacher, which is why tremendous efforts are put into masks and why the school is closed all afternoon every afternoon for sanitization. On the other hand, just in case a single student at the party might have had coronavirus, we can’t possible open up our masked-and-sanitized school.)

I wonder if they can keep this going for the rest of the school year, as a friend’s daughter predicted: “Dad, they’ll eventually find a way to have remote only.” Suppose that a teacher says that he/she/ze/they saw a student in the local supermarket. The student looked familiar, but it was difficult to tell who he/she/ze/they was due to the mask. Said mask was being worn under the nose, rendering him/her/zir/them completely unprotected against coronaplague. The teacher also saw some other customers in the supermarket with loosely fitted bandanas and under-the-nose masks. The school needs to be shut down, right?


  • “Parents And Teen Charged Over Party Which Forced High School Into Remote Learning” (Newsweek), noting that the school was forced to close: Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix … said the large group of youths were allegedly “disregarding state mandated social distancing and face covering protocols” and several party attendees “made threatening comments towards the responding officers”. Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix said that the parents involved as being responsible for the party have been charged in Framingham District Court with providing alcohol to minors and violating Massachusetts Social Host Law. Under the state law anyone “who is in control of the premises and who furnishes alcohol or allows it to be consumed on those premises” constitutes as a social host and may face fines, imprisonment or both.
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New email signatures for white teachers in all-white suburb

The overwhelmingly white unionized public school teachers in our nearly all-white, all-Asian suburb have begun appending, in a red font, the following signature text to every email message…

Lincoln Public Schools are united in standing with those who are calling out ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country and calling for acknowledgement of humanity in one another. This is not just an issue for black and brown people, but an issue that impacts all of our futures. We must:

  • Listen to each other, showing compassion and empathy
  • Never turn our backs on senseless brutality [ordinary brutality is okay?]
  • Continue to denounce injustices
  • Unify our voices to create systemic change

During this painful time, let us work together to be a light to break the darkness that silence can bring. Let us facilitate education, healing, connection, and let us support each other and our communities. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution and we must work together to ensure that there is justice for all.

[Note that relaxing the two-acre zoning minimum so that black and brown people could afford to move into our suburb is not mentioned. And we’re supposed to listen (free), not pay reparations (costly).]

Maybe they will show up to work in these T-shirts?

and for the feet…


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How’s the first day of school where you live?

Here in Maskachusetts, today is the first day for public schoolteachers to teach. Negotiations with the union resulted in a startup delay of more than two weeks so that teachers could receive training and come up with a plan for the various bizarre forms of teaching that they’re going to be doing. Plainly there was no way for the teachers to do any prep in April, May, June, July, or August. (Private school teachers figured out how to teach remotely back in March, sometimes in only a day or two; see Massachusetts private school students zoom ahead.)

A popular system here seems to be “hybrid” in which students will attend school in-person two mornings per week and the rest of the time is “learning at home” (i.e., Xbox; back in 2009 it was the adults who were on the 99 weeks of Xbox plan!)

Another feature is that the school days are shortened. Where they previously escaped at 2:50 pm, now the school day ends at 1:45 pm. The reason for this is unclear. A teacher told me that it was to give teachers additional time to plan assignments and that teachers would never be expected to interact with students after 1:45 pm.

A friend in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania shared a plan from the public school system there (featured for its mediocrity in Smartest Kids in the World: Poland). Students will attend school Monday through Thursday, but then be dumped on the parents on Fridays. If it is safe for the students to attend Monday through Thursday, why can’t they also go Friday? If it is unsafe to be at the school on Fridays, why it is safe for them to be there Monday through Thursday?

These schedules, which feature a lot of time at home, seem ideal for boosting the pay of tutors and also for increasing inequality. “Parents are spending $70,000 for their kids to learn in ‘pods’” (New York Post):

Now that most NYC-area schools have released their plans for the upcoming school year, with a combination of remote and in-person learning, parents of elite students are scrambling to supplement what they believe will inevitably be lost if students aren’t in the classroom — by hiring private educators.

Known as “pods,” small groups of four to 10 students in the same grade led by a tutor or teacher, have become the solution for weary and wealthy parents who are paying thousands of dollars — on top of five-figure private school tuitions — for the extra help monitoring kids during their school’s remote learning schedule.

Christopher Rim, founder of the education and college consulting firm Command Education, has been inundated with calls from “desperate parents” demanding leaders for pods that they’ve created with other families. He’s already staffed four pods in the Hamptons with tutors and expects to close in on 10 by the time the school year begins, with kids expected to rotate learning at a different home each week. One Water Mill parent already volunteered her 13-bedroom manse as the permanent home base of her kid’s 11th-grade four-person learning pod. He charges $3,500 a week per student, but offers a flat rate of $70,000 per kid if you pay the whole year up front, which covers 30 weeks of school.

Rim, a 25-year-old Yale grad with a BA in psychology who started the company in 2015 out of his dorm room, trains his tutors, who are all Ivy-league educated and under 30 years old. Some have teaching degrees and are certified to teach in public schools but not all. Said Rim, “This is not a replacement for school. This is not an accredited program. This is a supplement to make sure the students are on track.” All his tutors will be tested for COVID weekly, and will follow CDC guidelines for social-distancing whenever possible.

It’s also a matter of pride. Parents aren’t broadcasting the fact that they’re spending $70,000 a year on top of the $50,000 private school tuition to friends, Rim said, because “They don’t want other parents to gossip about them, that their kid needs a tutor in order to survive the school year.”

Readers: Any good tales from your necks of the woods?

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Back to School Ebola Decontamination Lessons

A friend’s son goes to a rich kids’ all-boys private school. She has received at least 50 pages of COVID-19-related material in the past few weeks. A sampling…

We are two weeks away from the start of school. We have two weeks to make this work. Please take extraordinary measures for the next 14 days to be sure our boys are ready to go. These include…

Creating a morning routine of taking his temperature, checking his wellness, and completing the Magnus app. No student will be allowed into our building to attend classes if this is not done daily.

Practicing the proper method of wearing a mask, over his nose and mouth. If your son is bothered by the mask resting behind his ears, consider adding an “ear saver” or string to hold the mask ear loops away from his ears. We will provide students with mask breaks regularly throughout the day. Students who do not comply with mask guidelines will be removed from the classroom and could be sent home for the day.

Purchasing a mask that complies with CDC guidelines and the School’s dress code policy. Please no masks with valves. Additionally, the School has adopted a no gaiters policy. Consistent with our dress code philosophy masks should contain no large text, logos, or images ([Rich kids’ school]-branded masks are permitted). Masks are to be worn as students exit a vehicle on campus and all day except during lunch or in designated spaces outside of our buildings. During lunch in our building, we will ask the students to eat quietly while their mask is removed.

Learning how to properly wash their hands. We will ask students to wash their hands multiple times a day. We also have plenty of hand sanitizer, but boys are welcome to bring a small bottle of their own.

Learning how to properly wipe down their materials. At the end of every day, we will ask students to wipe down their computer, their desk, and their chair before washing their hands and leaving the building.

Creating an entrance procedure when your son returns home to include leaving shoes outside of the home, changing and washing school clothes daily, and showering/bathing upon entering the home. [This is my favorite! Decontamination for elementary school kids as though they had just come from a shift in the Ebola ward of the local hospital]

[a few days later]

Boys will be required to wear masks. Gators and vented masks are not allowed at [Rich Kids’ School]. Please be sure your son has an appropriate mask for safety reasons.
The boys will not have access to water fountains, so I would recommend that the boys fill up two water bottles to bring to school each day.
Lunches will be delivered to the classroom, but if you are packing your son’s lunch, please know he will not have access to a microwave.
We will have hand sanitizer in the classrooms, but if you could also send in a smaller personal hand sanitizer for your son to keep at his desk for snack, that would be fantastic.

Like the poster says, “Fall down 7 times, get up 8.” This is the attitude that will get us through the year. [Not “give the finger to the virus” like the infidels in Sweden!]

Beginning on Wednesday, September 9, the Lower School building will open at 7:30am. Once checking in at the front of the Lower School, the boys will proceed through a hand sanitizing station in the Lobby and then go directly to their homeroom.

Please remember to complete the Magnus App each morning by 7:30am. We will be requiring families to complete the health screening before allowing your son into the Lower School each day.

Please remember to send your son with a mask each day, he will need to be wearing it as he exits the car and it will need to remain on throughout the day (except when permitted to remove it at the direction of his teacher). Neck gaiters and masks with valves are not permitted.

[from the nurse?]

Our Health Staff is available for a drive up medication drop off to receive medications required for administration at school including all emergency medications. We will follow all CDC guidelines for COVID-19 procedures during drop off. Please email our Health Office at [] or call directly xxx-xxx-xxxx to confirm arrangement.

All medications delivered to school require a current physician’s order on file in your Magnus Health account and must be delivered in their prescribed container or they will not be accepted. Please store in a clear plastic bag labeled with your son’s name, grade, and date of birth.

Please have your ID and the student’s medication prepared for drop off as noted above. Please wear a mask when our staff meets you at your car to obtain the medications.

Where: Lower School Entrance – a table will be set up and COVID-19 procedures will be in place.

Please do not wait to access your mobile app. Your son’s COVID-19 screening tool is available now. Completion of the symptom surveillance tool is to be completed by 7:30 a.m. for timely submission. If unable to complete timely, please save a screenshot of your son’s final “Pass” to show for school entry.

Directives to set up your Magnus Mobile v2 APP and user credentials are here. Reminder: You must login to MyBackpack and access the Magnus Health portal ONLINE first to create your Mobile App username and password. Hover over YOUR name and choose “CHANGE Credentials”. [… three pages of instructions followed … ]

Parents will need to update the app to the latest Version 20.08.26. Parents using an iPhone can do this by installing the update within the Apple Store, or by deleting and reinstalling the app. Android users are able to perform the same update by updating via Google Play Store, or by deleting and reinstalling the app.

If you have a student at [Rich Kids School] and other schools using Magnus Health for student information or COVID-19 screening (i.e. [some other schools for rich kids in the same city],…anyone using Magnus Health)..you must log out of the account created for your son’s account for the MOBILE APP and log into your parent account for your other child with the username and password created to access their health information and surveillance tool.

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Join the teachers union if you don’t want the government sticking needles in your arm

One of the latest orders from the Maskachusetts governor is that children will be denied a K-12 education if they don’t submit to a flu vaccination. (In ancient times, of course, this could be conveniently obtained at the school itself in about 30 seconds, from a public health nurse with a gun, but today this will involve more than 20 minutes of paperwork at a CVS or similar.)

So everyone in the school building will have a reduced chance of getting the flu? There was a discussion about this on the town mailing list. The righteous who attended a School Committee meeting reported that the bureaucrats concluded that they lacked the power to force the teachers to accept the needle.

(How effective is the flu vaccine? Not effective enough for the British medical technocrats to recommend it for those between 11 and 65 years of age (Oxford; NHS), perhaps partly because “Over time, protection from the injected flu vaccine gradually decreases and flu strains often change.” (NHS). If the Brits are correct, perhaps the current American zeal for flu shots will lead to a lot of flu deaths among the elderly 10-20 years from now. See “Repeated flu shots may blunt effectiveness” (CMAJ, 2015))

In other coronaplague news, the town decided not to defer construction of what seems to be, on a per-student basis, the most expensive school ever built in the United States. They started demolishing the old building in June, as planned. Instead of the old building plus the temporary trailers, therefore, the school will try to operate within half of the old building and the trailers. In other words, they affirmatively decided to reduce the square footage per student in the middle of a raging viral epidemic.


  • “Brazil’s Bolsonaro says COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory” (Reuters): “Many people want the vaccine to be applied in a coercive way, but there is no law that provides for that,” Bolsonaro said in a Facebook live chat with his supporters. … “There is no way for the government – unless we live in a dictatorship – to force everyone to get vaccinated,” Mourão said in a radio interview.
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If K-12 schools will be online-only, why not start right now?

“Most California Schools Unlikely To Open In Fall Under New State Rules” (NPR):

Most California schools may remain closed when the academic year begins in the fall, according to new state directives, with a majority of campuses likely having to shift to distance-learning instead.

The new requirements stipulate how and when schools may reopen for in-person learning when the academic school year begin. … Under the new rules, a county must also not be on a list of counties being monitored for rising coronavirus infections. Thirty-two of the states 58 counties currently don’t hit that benchmark. To open schools for in-person instruction, those counties would have to be off that list for 14 consecutive days, according to the directives.

The directives are on the heels of announcements that some of the state’s largest districts had already decided to enter the academic year with no in-person classes. Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco all recently said they planned online-only learning when students returned.

This makes sense for a population whose only goal in life is avoiding Covid-19 infection. But why wait for the fall? Given that students already missed a lot academically during what would have been the spring semester, wouldn’t it make sense for K-12 to start up right now for any student who wants to try to catch up? Supposedly, the schools and teachers that did a lame job with online education in June will be doing an awesome job in September. But why not start with the awesomeness tomorrow, for example?


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High school will be two mornings per week here in Maskachusetts

Friends have a son who had planned to head into Lincoln-Sudbury High School for 9th grade. The superintendent/principal (remarkably, the same person does both jobs in this one-school school system), sent an email to parents:

As you may recall from earlier communications, we are required to develop three learning plans for the opening of school: 100% all remote, hybrid in-person and remote, and 100% in-person. We are required to submit the learning plans to the state by July 31st after approval by the L-S School Committee. The state is also requesting that we indicate which plan we anticipate utilizing when we reopen school this fall. The School Committee is scheduled to take its vote at its meeting scheduled for July 28.

As stated in the preamble for the initial draft for fall opening it is my recommendation that we reopen school with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning and not 100% in-person. This recommendation is based on the challenge of ensuring a safe environment with 100% students in school all at one time and the compromise to delivery of instruction. Maintaining 3’ separation would significantly compromise delivery of instruction in all science classes. Maintaining 6’ separation significantly compromises delivery of instruction in all classes. And, finally, maintaining a strict protocol of social distancing and disinfection during lunch periods, mask breaks and travel through the school between classes is not feasible with 100% in-person.

[Why a limit based on “disinfection” if masks are the answer (the link below says “All staff and students wearing masks”) and if “science” now tells us that people are getting coronaplague from aerosols, not from funky surfaces?]

The “hybrid plan” recommended by Bella Wong (principal/superintendent) features two mornings per week of in-person instruction:

On Monday, the students tracked into “Cohort A” will attend school from 8:25 am to noon on Mondays and from 8:25-11:05 on Thursdays.

I asked the father of the 14-year-old boy who is headed into this arrangement why the teenage boys sitting at home wouldn’t play shooter games during all of the time that they should supposedly be in “remote learning” or “independent activity”. He responded “One of them was doing that already, according to [the son]”.

Will we go back to the Victorian era when families of even slightly above-average means hire private tutors to come to the house?

Also, won’t this heavily favor students who happen to live in super-sized McMansions? They can have a dedicated classroom, not just a desk in a cluttered “room room”.

(Note that teachers will presumably have to clock in four mornings per week in order to collect a full-time paycheck.)


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Irish Hedge Schools can be the model for 2020-2021 American K-12?

What if the License Raj in a U.S. state makes it illegal to operate K-12 schools once again, as was done in most states back in March? Could American rebels reboot the Irish hedge school tradition? From Wikipedia:

Hedge schools (Irish names include scoil chois claí, scoil ghairid and scoil scairte) were small informal illegal schools, particularly in 18th- and 19th-century Ireland, designed to secretly provide the rudiments of primary education to children of ‘non-conforming’ faiths (Catholic and Presbyterian). Under the penal laws only schools for those of the Anglican faith were allowed. Instead Catholics and Presbyterians set up highly informal secret operations that met in private homes.

Historians generally agree that they provided a kind of schooling, occasionally at a high level, for up to 400,000 students by the mid-1820s. J. R. R. Adams says the hedge schools testified “to the strong desire of ordinary Irish people to see their children receive some sort of education.” Antonia McManus argues that there “can be little doubt that Irish parents set a high value on a hedge school education and made enormous sacrifices to secure it for their children….[the hedge schoolteacher was] one of their own”.

While the “hedge school” label suggests the classes took place outdoors (next to a hedgerow), classes were normally held in a house or barn.

From my rain-soaked May/June 2019 trip to Ireland:


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Priority for Students of Color in returning to public K-12 school

From the Educrats in Washington State: Reopening Washington
Schools 2020 District Planning Guide
. The phrase “students of color” occurs six times.

Good news for Rachel Dolezal: white students will be home driving parents crazy while “students of color” will enjoy in-person instruction and socializing with other students.

If that isn’t specific enough, “Prioritize face-to-face service for students that are most impacted by the loss of in-person services, including: … Students of color”

(“intersectionality” is involved, which presumably is a positive for the job market for PhDs in comparative victimhood)

I wonder if this is another good example of what Sweden has gained by just giving the finger to the coronavirus. Sweden isn’t pitting families of different skin colors against each other in competing for scarce slots in public schools.

Also, is this another example of a Constitutional right that Americans have lost due to the governor-declared emergencies? The Fourteenth Amendment was used to require school integration because of the Equal Protection Clause. How can states re-segregate their schools in light of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of this clause?


  • “N.Y.C. Schools, Nation’s Largest District, Will Not Fully Reopen in Fall” (NYT): Classroom attendance in September will be limited to only one to three days a week in an effort to continue to curb the outbreak, the mayor said. … The decision to opt for only a partial reopening, which is most likely the only way to accommodate students in school buildings while maintaining social distancing, may hinder hundreds of thousands of parents from returning to their pre-pandemic work lives, undermining the recovery of the sputtering local economy. [Wouldn’t the parents be better off moving to a state with (a) fully open schools, and (b) good Internet connectivity?]
  • “Research Shows Students Falling Months Behind During Virus Disruptions” (NYT): “When all of the impacts are taken into account, the average student could fall seven months behind academically, while black and Hispanic students could experience even greater learning losses, equivalent to 10 months for black children and nine months for Latinos, according to an analysis from McKinsey & Company, the consulting group.”
  • https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2020/06/18/coronashutdown-versus-un-universal-declaration-of-human-rights/ (the UN says that children have the right to go to school, with no exceptions for a powerful teachers union or a state full of Shutdown Karens)
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Maskachusetts Teachers Consider Returning to Work

“Reopening and Reimagining Our Public Schools”, from the Massachusetts Teachers Association (a.k.a. “teacher’s union”), describes a theoretical world in which those who are paid to teach actually have to work more than an hour or two per day and may have to commute to a physical school.

Do you send out one email every Monday morning and then host a couple of group video chats later in the week? You’re a hero!

Educators will continue their heroic efforts from this spring and will work hard to make our schools ready for our students this fall. Educators, through their unions and in collaboration with students and families, must play a central decision-making role in the return-to-school plan, district by district. Ultimately, we will decide if these directives have been met by the state and the districts.

Everywhere that the schools previously had a rainbow there will now be a double rainbow:

We cannot go back to the status quo, which was actively harming many of our youth, families, and educators of color, as well as people from other marginalized groups, including our LGBTQ+ students. We must instead be bold and create free and equitable schools where education liberates and empowers our youth so a brighter future is possible for all of us.

[among the “Key Directives”] Curriculum must reflect and affirm our LGBTQ+ students.

This is a bit odd when you think about it. LGBTQIA+ students weren’t being reflected and affirmed previously. I am sure that we will all agree that this was a terrible situation. But who created that situation if not the very unionized teachers who now say that the situation must end? What was stopping them from reflecting and affirming LGBTQIA+ students six hours per day every day?

There is one Key Directive that is worth putting in bold:

Eliminate MCAS and reevaluate the ways our public schools are assessed.

In other words, the only objective test of student learning has to be tossed out. (Admittedly, the raw MCAS does not measure school performance that well since the children of well-educated parents tend to score highly even if their teachers don’t teach anything.)

Teachers should be hired and promoted based on skin color:

We must prioritize hiring, retaining and promoting educators of color.

But will the older white teachers resign or subject themselves to firing in the event of poor performance in order to make room for educators of color?

Here’s a principle that I can support wholeheartedly:

Every student — and every educator — deserves access to the basic tools of a modern society: a computer and reliable internet access.

Would someone please tell this to Comcast?

As soon as the first person anywhere in the state gets a fever in November and a positive coronavirus test, the teachers will go back home to their pets and gardens:

Educators must be supported with … effective practices for crisis learning remotely.

Districts must provide support … if we are again forced to return to crisis learning remotely.

One fact that I learned about a private school was that they have already wired up every classroom with video cameras so that students who need to stay home for any reason can participate remotely and see what is going on in the physical class.

A related document from the same union: “Facing the Coronavirus as a Just Community: An Agenda for Our Public Schools and Colleges and for the Common Good”. Some excerpts:

The MTA is a union of 116,000 educators … We are entering a dangerous and unknown peak period of this pandemic. … We present these demands of local and state officials …

Keep schools closed statewide for as long as necessary to ensure the health of students, faculty, and staff. No educator should be required to come to work when schools are closed for students. Any vulnerable staff should be able to stay home with no loss of pay or benefits.

All educators – full-time, part-time, hourly and per-diem workers, including teachers, secretaries, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and substitute teachers – must be fully paid during this time,

Guarantee that pay and pensions are not affected by the pandemic.

Declare a moratorium on all educator evaluations

Based on the above, I don’t think my friend is going to get that property tax refund he had been expecting based on the fact that his middle schoolers did not receive any education after mid March.

[Our own town of Lincoln, Massachusetts will presumably be one of the last to reopen its schools due to the fact that the square footage is going to be dramatically reduced via a $110 million construction project that moves children into cramped trailers with minimal windows and doors from 2020 through 2023:

They couldn’t find a place to build a new building on the 70-acre campus (above) while continuing to use the old building.]


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