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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Elizabeth Andersen on First Coast Connect

 In my opinion, she didn't do very well, and I would encourage you to listen to it.  

https://news.wjct.org/post/covid-vaccine-priority-holocaust-rememberance-day-jax-film-festival-adapt

Look, I know Andersen is smart, and she cares, heck I liked her enough to donate 800 dollars to her when she ran for SB, but you know what all that gets us? More demoralized, sick, and worse, students and staff. As she tries to play paddy cake with DeSantis and keep the republicans at the beach satiated. She is blowing her moment. We need her to fight for students and staff, and if she doesn’t get that, if she’s not up to it, she needs to get out of the way and let somebody who will lead. 

Andersen has been getting a lot of credit for writing a letter to Desantis requesting teachers be vaccinated. It only took three deaths and dozens of other letters from school boards across the state to get her to do so. This is the bare minimum of six weeks late. 

During the interview, Mellissa Ross gave her opportunity after opportunity to call out Desantis, but she refused. Um, what does she think is going to happen? He will ignore her and do what he can to hurt public schools? Spoiler, he’s already doing that in spades.   

When the district's woeful contact tracing came up, she passed the buck to the DOH. This is the same DOH that for months refused to give any guidance and we know is politically compromised by Desantis, who wants herd immunity at any cost.  She must know they aren’t up for the task, and I, for one, am sick and tired of the district absolving themselves of responsibility while people are getting sick. If you know something is bad or wrong, you try and change it, or that’s what leaders are supposed to do. 

Then Ross asked her what the district was going to do if Desantis ignored her request, and she said, well, we will have to keep doing the same. Here is another spoiler what the district is doing isn’t working, and there is a lot of things the district can be doing. 

-The district could cancel all district tests; it’s a pandemic, people are stressed enough, and it will keep people out of the schools. 

- The district could explain to people that despite their mitigation efforts, and I remind you, mitigation means slow; they just can’t keep safe in our schools and encourage families that can go to DHR. This would help with social distancing, which is a lie, and she basically admitted that during the interview. 

-Finally, and most importantly, when there is a case in a class, teachers and families should be notified immediately so they can make decisions for their and their family’s welfare, and that includes allowing staff to take COVID relief days. Furthermore, they could recommend, not require but recommend they quarantine for five days and get a test.    

The district could do all this tomorrow if it wanted too and it should have done it months ago. 

We could and should be doing better, why we aren’t is a %$# @#& mystery, no make that a tragedy. 



Monday, January 25, 2021

When did protecting kids become not become a priority?

For a long time, there was the mistaken belief that children were nearly immune to COVID. The reality is we were keeping them safe, and they just didn’t do the same type of activities that people who were getting it were. Now that we know children can get it just as easy and more and more are getting sick or worse, you would think the powers-that-be would want to do something to protect children. Sadly from DeSantis, Corcoran, and Greene, all we get is an insistence that we engage in more reckless and dangerous behavior.  

From WJXT,  

There has been a 20-30% increase in the number of children who have caught COVID-19 in the last several weeks, according to Dr. Jeffrey Goldhagen, chief of Community and Societal Pediatrics for UF Health Jacksonville.  

“They can get sick, they can spread the disease, and they can die from the disease,” said Goldhagen, who has warned the public since the pandemic started that any information it has heard that suggests children cannot get sick is “wrong.” 

https://www.news4jax.com/health/2021/01/21/20-30-increase-in-local-children-infected-with-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR3irkSaLio-ETQ-QRcTxomhszfk2LVhj17nhI0IyFHVGdflTGqyCZas1Cs 

I get it DeathSantis, and Little Boot Corcoran want herd immunity no matter how many people it kills, but is that Greene’s philosophy too? Is a kid here or there worth making sure more take the FSA? What about the school board? Do Chair Andersen and Vicechair Willey have a number for an acceptable amount of deaths? If not, they should demand we make changes. 

We aren’t closing, but there are some things the district could be doing. 

Immediately they should cancel all district tests; it’s not necessary to get more people back in the building. 

They could encourage people to go to DHR, explaining to them that is the only way they can be safe.   

Most importantly, they can deal with our ineffective and reckless contact tracing by letting people know about cases, not who got it, but if there was a case and do so immediately. Then respecting people, including teachers, desire to quarantine. 

The district can keep people safer, sadly they haven’t shown much of an inclination to do so. 

When we can keep people safer, and choose not to, then at some point, deaths become their responsibility. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Board chair Anderson fawns all over Desantis as she finally asks him to do the right thing.

I would like to acknowledge the letter's sentiment to prioritize educators to get the vaccine is laudable if not way overdue.  I also understand the need for some sugar, but to me, this goes overboard.





















So I am torn. I want to give Andersen props for doing the right thing, but I am frustrated it took so long and frankly grossed out by the letter. We should not have to fawn over and beg the governor to do the right thing. I am not saying to be combative, but the facts alone layout an incredibly valid case.

I hate to be that guy but I think the best thing that can come of this and it's very valuable and that's for Desantis's cruelty to be on the record. 

Call me jaded and I know some will, but this is just insulting to all teachers who have given and sacrificed. 

Well, I hope it works, and I hope I am wrong when I say I don't think it will, and when the letter fails, sorry if the letter fails to move our governor, then Andersen the super and the board should finally start to do what they should have been doing since last summer, and that's educating the people about the dangers, implement proper contact tracing and doing all they can to keep people out of the schools.

There is a lot Andersen and the board could be and should have been doing; hopefully, this letter is just step one.   

This week, 2 deaths, 199 cases and nothing from Greene

 It seemed like we were getting a rah rah email a week from Superintendant Greene for a while. I find it interesting what she comments about and doesn't because DCPS just experienced its most dangerous week ever, and we didn't' get so much as a peep.

Graduation, mental health (that's rich), vaccinations, winter break, and her being named superintendent of the year (speechless) have all gotten emails since the beginning of December. This week got crickets.

I get it, Florida is run by madmen who will let die as many as they have to, in order to achieve herd immunity. That's a sad and apparent fact, but that's not to say Greene and the board couldn't do more to keep people safe. 

 They could end all-district testing, stay home, folks; we will be okay with it.

They could encourage people to go to or back to DHR, explaining that there is no way we can keep people safe.

They could pick district staff in our schools as subs. I know they think what they are doing is super important, but right now, slowing the pandemic and keeping people safe should take precedence over everything.

She could be lobbying for teachers to get the vaccines, and before you jump on me, I think there is a big difference between the elderly in assisted living facilities getting them and people in the villages. Heck, we just stopped medical tourism, on Thursday. 

They could take contact tracing seriously. What we are doing now is reckless and dangerous, and everyone knows it. The schools can let people know and at the very least let them decide what's best for them and their safety. Passing the buck to the woefully unqualified DOH is weak. 

They could address class size to help social distancing, and if some bosses from the Ivory Tower have to go back to the classroom, good, maybe they can learn something.  

 Green has things she could be doing. Greene could be keeping staff and students safer, but she's not, she's shrugging her shoulders, and this week, the most dangerous week ever, we don't even get one of her emails.  

Thursday, January 21, 2021

It's been 5 days since the COVID dump and DCPS's numbers are outrageous

 DCPS changed the way it was doing its dashboard, now instead of waiting for the DOH, they are just reporting cases the schools hear about. That first day was crazy as you might expect as the district cleaned the books. The problem is the numbers have not gotten any better. 

So in the last five school days, DCPS reported 151 students and 84 staff have tested positive for COVID, that's 47 a day. We are averaging 47 cases a day. Throw in the dump and we are averaging 66. Friends contact tracking was reckless when the dashboard was reporting five or six a day, how bad must it be now. 

 

https://c19sitdash.azurewebsites.net/

In a little over a week, DCPS has lost a teacher, a para, and a student and had 393 plus cases of COVID reported. At one point do things become critical? Asking for a friend.

Terrible

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

School Board Chair Andersen says she is devastated about the DCPS deaths, well then how about doing something.

 I had high hopes for Mrs. Andersen, so high I donated 800 dollars to her campaign. A former educator, I thought she would fight for teachers and against the state. Now people are dying, and she may feel devastated, but it is way past time she did something.

From WJXT,

Board chair Elizabeth Andersen made the announcement Wednesday morning on Facebook.

“I’m sad to report that we have lost more members of the DCPS family. Ms. Martin was a beloved Paraprofessional at Neptune Beach Elementary who passed away from COVID, and a student at Twin Lakes has passed away from MIS-C, an illness thought to be COVID related,” Anderson wrote. 

“I’m devastated for these families and school communities,"

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2021/01/20/neptune-beach-elementary-employee-dies-due-to-covid-19-complications-board-member-says/

You know what her being devastated without action is going to give us? More deaths.

I am devastated, too, as I am sure tens of thousands of people across the state, but unlike Andersen, we don't have the power to do anything about it.

She is the school board chair; she could call for adequate social distancing, transparency, and robust contact tracing. She could be out there letting people know the truth, and that's a basically toothless mask policy, and plexiglass shields aren't going to keep people safe. Instead of sitting back while the district encourages people to head to school, she could be telling people to stay home if at all possible.

Devastated, you know what her being devastated gets us? Absolutely nothing, but if she wanted to, she could change that. 

I urge her to have a special meeting to address the district's woeful contact tracing and to encourage people to switch to DHR if possible. How many more people have to get sick or worse before she and the district do something.

Three members of team Duval have passed in a little over a week. Where is the coach?

I got an advanced copy of Superintendent Greene’s email, the one we all know is coming after three members of our school family passed away in a little over a week.  Hopes and prayers, hopes and prayers, hope prayers, hopes and prayers, hopes and prayers. Best  

I, for one, am tired of hopes and prayers and would like some action. We desperately need to address contact tracing and social distancing, you know, half of the things that are supposed to keep us safe.  The board and super can no longer sit idly by.

Imagine this, you get home, and the lead story is forty people died on Jacksonville Roads in one day. That would freak you out, wouldn’t it? What about police or gangs kill forty Jacksonville citizens today, or forty die in Jacksonville from eating tainted subs from the public deli. All of those would be shocking and demoralizing. But when 40 people die of COVID, which is how many died yesterday, we all kind of shrug our shoulders and say, glad it wasn’t us. Well, friends, when teachers, paras, and students start dying, it is us.    

Everybody should stop right now and go to the DCPS COVID dashboard. 

 https://c19sitdash.azurewebsites.net/

 There were 51 students and 29 staff! This wasn’t a dump day like last week either; this was just a day. This is going to be the new normal. 

The thing is, contact tracing was abysmal when they were reporting a handful of cases a day. How’s it going to be now that the number is dozens?  

We must get serious as a district about contact tracing. That’s what anywhere who has successfully fought back against the pandemic has done. Sadly, Greene and the board seem content to let the DOH do a job they are incredibly incapable of doing. Oh, it’s their fault; they are the ones doing it; it's not on us. The buck certainly doesn’t stop with the board or super. 

At the very least, people, families, and staff should be made aware if there is a sick teacher teaching their kid or a sick kid in their room and should be made aware immediately, and then they can decide how they want to protect themselves. DCPS is robbing people of the ability to defend themselves, and that’s reckless and unacceptable. 

We could and should be doing better, but all we are getting is hopes and prayers.    

DCPS must just sit around and think of ways to #@&% with people

At my school, we have several certificated staff that doesn’t have classroom responsibilities. This isn’t to say they don’t have responsibilities; they do, a lot of them.   

So because of the completely foreseen sub fiasco, they have been covering classes, a lot of them. Not just a period here or there but entire days. 

Well, the district just told them because they don’t have planning periods, they don’t need to give them even the merger sub pay that teachers get. Apparently, they are little more than yoked livestock that can be told to do whatever.  

I call bull @#%#! 

The district is nickeling and diming these professionals. This is an amount that can’t be more than a few thousand dollars too. But hey, as long as it $@#&s somebody over, let's roll with it. 

So petty and disheartening, why can’t we do better? 

Monday, January 18, 2021

DCPS admits there is a sub problem, sort of...

  Last summer Superintendent Greene said having subs wasn't a problem and we had 2k ready to go, though almost immediately when the school year began we knew that wasn't true, and the school board admitted it, sort of, when they signed an MOU with the union, to increase teacher sub pay.

This MOU proves two things, the district completely disrespects elementary school teachers, and there has been a bog and persistent problem with getting subs.

We all know Greene wasn't honest last summer, or at the very least should have known better and in my mind, this just proves it.

Here is the MOU

COVID-19 has imposed a hardship upon us all. The Substitute System has not escaped that hardship as they have struggled in their responsibility to fill vacant teacher positions. Classroom teachers are often called upon to be used as substitutes in order to provide appropriate coverage for classes. To that end, DTU and the DCSB has reached an agreement to increase compensation for teachers who voluntarily agree to act as substitutes or who accept students from another class when a peer teacher is absent, and a substitute can’t be acquired.


A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed to provide additional compensation for classroom teachers who assume these responsibilities as follows.



Coverage Time

Compensation

Secondary Schools on a 4 Period Day

$28.00

Secondary Schools on a Seven-Period Day

$22.00

Alternative Schools on a 4 Period Day

$28.00

Alternative: Students Divided Among 4 Teachers

$22.00 for Full Day; $11.00 for Half Day

Elementary: Students Divided by 4 Teachers

$22.00 for Full Day; $11.00 for Half Day


The MOU is in effect from January 18, 2021 through June 30, 2021 and will not be applied to days prior to the effective date of this signed agreement.

Last week there were 172 student cases, 88 staff cases and nothing but crickets from the district.

 Those numbers are beyond scary, and they beg the question, how can effective contact tracing occur? The answer is it can't, and that means more people will get sick and worse. So what is the district doing to improve it? If you guessed nothing you would be correct.


When I got COVID, I notified my school on Sunday. The health department got in touch with me on Wednesday and promptly did nothing, even though I had been within six feet of everybody in my class every day, including days when there was no doubt I was infected. 

I got this note last night,

Still, no word from DOH, and now the whole family has it, so he’s out another week. Another 5th grader has it in one of my switch classes! We were told to send packets home, but no concern for our safety or the other children who have been exposed!

Unfortunately, I get notes like this all the time. 

If we cannot contact trace, we can't keep people safe; how don't Greene and the board get that? 

At the very least, they should tell families and parents, hey, there is a case in your class and then respect their choices to defend themselves, which as teachers, should be to take the COVID leave.

This is so reckless and dangerous, and as we can see, the numbers are getting worse and worse, and the district, if they care if they want to address it if they want to keep people safe, has done zero to do so. 

For %#$s sake DCPS you are going to get people killed.

Note, yes, the district changed the way the dashboard reports, which makes me wonder how many cases haven't made the dashboard, and my bet is it's hundreds if not more. The thing is, this just shows how incredibly inadequate their contact tracing has been.