Archives for category: New York City

The New York Daily News reported that the Trump administration has changed rules for spending federal funds on emergency spaces, which means that subways and public schools will no longer receive funds for cleaning during the pandemic.

Transit systems, schools and other public facilities in New York could soon become a whole lot dirtier because of a policy change enacted by the Trump administration that’ll strip millions of dollars in critical coronavirus aid for the state, the Daily News has learned.

It’s a gut-punch no one saw coming, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) railed Thursday.

Since the outset of the pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has helped New York and other states cover the costs of coronavirus-fighting efforts — from disinfecting schools and government buildings to stocking up on personal protective equipment for public employees.

But FEMA snuck in a rules change this week to say “the operation of schools and other public facilities” are no longer considered “emergency protective measures eligible for reimbursement,” declaring, “These are not immediate actions necessary to protect public health and safety.”

Presumably, this change will affect schools across the nation that rely on FEMA for extra cleaning.

Apoorva Mandavilli is an award-winning science reporter for the New York Times. She is a mother of two children. She lives in Brooklyn. In this article, she thinks through the pros and cons of sending her children back to school. To read the links, open the story. Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio and UFT leader Michael Mulgrew announced that the city’s public schools would open for blended learning on September 21. Orientation will begin September 16. Teachers will report to their buildings on September 8.


All summer, as information about how the coronavirus affects children has trickled in, I’ve been updating a balance sheet in my head. Every study I read, every expert I talked to, was filling in columns on this sheet: reasons for and against sending my children back to school come September.

Into the con column went a study from Chicago that found children carry large amounts of virus in their noses and throats, maybe even more than adults do. Also in the con column: two South Korean studies, flawed as they were, which suggested children can spread the virus to others — and made me wonder whether my sixth-grader, at least, should stay home.

Reports from Europe hinting that it was possible to reopen schools safely dribbled onto the pro side of my ledger. But could we match those countries’ careful precautions, or their low community levels of virus?

I live in Brooklyn, where schools open after Labor Day (if they open this year at all), so my husband and I have had more time than most parents in the nation to make up our minds. We’re also privileged enough to have computers and reliable Wi-Fi for my children to learn remotely.

But as other parents called and texted to ask what I was planning to do, I turned to the real experts: What do we know about the coronavirus and children? And what should parents like me do?

The virus is so new that there are no definitive answers as yet, the experts told me. Dozens of coronavirus studies emerge every day, “but it is not all good literature, and sorting out the wheat from the chaff is challenging,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, an expert in adolescent health at Brown University.

But she and other experts were clear on one thing: Schools should only reopen if the level of virus circulating in the community is low — that is, if less than 5 percent of people tested have a positive result. By that measure, most school districts in the nation cannot reopen without problems.

“The No. 1 factor is what your local transmission is like,” said Helen Jenkins, an expert in infectious diseases and statistics at Boston University. “If you’re in a really hard-hit part of the country, it’s highly likely that somebody coming into the school will be infected at some point.”

On the questions of how often children become infected, how sick they get and how much they contribute to community spread, the answers were far more nuanced.

Fewer children than adults become infected. But childhood infection is not uncommon.

In the early days of the pandemic, there were so few reports of sick children that it was unclear whether they could be infected at all. Researchers guessed even then that younger children could probably catch the coronavirus, but were mostly spared severe symptoms.

That conjecture has proved correct. “There is very clear evidence at this point that kids can get infected,” Dr. Ranney said.

As the pandemic unfolded, it also appeared that younger children were less likely — perhaps only half as likely — to become infected, compared with adults, whereas older children had about the same risk as adults.

But it’s impossible to be sure. In most countries hit hard by the coronavirus, lockdowns and school shutdowns kept young children cloistered at home and away from sources of infection. And when most of those countries opened up, they did so with careful adherence to masks and physical distancing.

Children may turn out to be less at risk of becoming infected, “but not meaningfully different enough that I would take solace in it or use it for decision making,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

In the United States, children under age 19 still represent just over 9 percent of all coronavirus cases. But the number of children infected rose sharply this summer to nearly half a million, and the incidence among children has risen much faster than it had been earlier this year.

“And those are just the kids that have been tested,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a former health commissioner of Baltimore. “It’s quite possible that we’re missing many cases of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic children.”

In the two-week period between Aug. 6 and Aug. 20, for example, the number of children diagnosed in the United States jumped by 74,160, a 21 percent increase.

“Now that we’re doing more community testing, we’re seeing higher proportions of children who are infected,” Dr. Ranney said. “I think that our scientific knowledge on this is going to continue to shift.”

Children do become sick with the virus, but deaths are very rare.

Even with the rising number of infections, the possibility that panics parents the most — that their children could become seriously ill or even die from the virus — is still reassuringly slim.

Children and adolescents up to age 20 (definitions and statistics vary by state) represent less than 0.3 percent of deaths related to the coronavirus, and 21 states have reported no deaths at all among children.

“That remains the silver lining of this pandemic,” Dr. Jha said.

But reports in adults increasingly suggest that death is not the only severe outcome. Many adults seem to have debilitating symptoms for weeks or months after they first fall ill.

“What percentage of kids who are infected have those long-term consequences that we’re increasingly worried about with adults?” Dr. Ranney wondered.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a mysterious condition that has been linked to the coronavirus, has also been reported in about 700 children and has caused 11 deaths as of Aug. 20. “That’s a very small percentage of children,” Dr. Ranney said. “But growing numbers of kids are getting hospitalized, period.”

Children can spread the virus to others. How often is still unknown.

Transmission has been the most challenging aspect of the coronavirus to discern in children, made even more difficult by the lockdowns that kept them at home.

Because most children are asymptomatic, for example, household surveys and studies that test people with symptoms often miss children who might have seeded infections. And when schools are closed, young children don’t venture out; they tend to catch the virus from adults, rather than the other way around.

To confirm the direction of spread, scientists ideally would genetically sequence viral samples obtained from children to understand where and when they were infected, and whether they passed it on.

New York City has delayed the opening of schools by 10 days to give teachers and principals more time to prepare and to avert a possible teachers’ strike.

Under pressure from schools and advocates, the federal government has agreed to make it easier for schools to feed poor children.

“I keep saying to people, ‘It’s so hard to study transmission — it’s just really, really hard,’” Dr. Jenkins said.

Still, based on studies so far, “I think it still appears that the younger children might be less likely to transmit than older ones, and older ones are probably more similar to adults in that regard,” she said.

Sadly, the high numbers of infected children in the United States may actually provide some real data on this question as schools reopen.

So what’s a parent to do?

That’s a tough one to answer, as parents everywhere now know. So much depends on the particular circumstances of your school district, your immediate community, your family and your child.

“I think it’s a really complex decision, and we need to do everything we can as a society to enable parents to make this type of decision,” Dr. Wen said.

There are some precautions everyone can take — beginning with doing as much outdoors as possible, maintaining physical distance and wearing masks.

“I will not send my children to school or to an indoor activity where the children are not all masked,” Dr. Ranney said.

Even if there is uncertainty about how often children become infected or spread the virus, “when you consider the risk versus benefit, the balance lies in assuming that kids can both get infected and can spread it,” Dr. Ranney said.

For schools, the decision will also come down to having good ventilation — even if that’s just windows that open — small pods that can limit how widely the virus might spread from an infected child, and frequent testing to cut transmission chains.

Teachers and school nurses will also need protective equipment, Dr. Jenkins said: “Good P.P.E. makes all the difference, and school districts must provide that for the teachers at an absolute minimum.”

As long as these right precautions are in place, “it’s better for kids to be in school than outside of school,” Dr. Jha said. “Teachers are reasonably safe in those environments, as well.”

But community transmission is the most important factor in deciding whether children should go back to school, researchers agreed. “We just can’t keep a school free from the coronavirus if the community is a hotbed of infection,” Dr. Wen said.

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education and a retired high school principal and a grandmother, argues in this article that public schools in New York City should reopen. She speaks for herself, not for the Network for Public Education. NPE issued a statement calling for additional federal funds to enable the safe reopening of schools. NPE put the emphasis on the necessity to protect the health and safety of students and staff before reopening. Just for the record, I personally am super-cautious about when it is safe to reopen (I don’t know), but my son who has a second grade child in public school is eager for schools to reopen. These are important discussions. There is no clear answer because none of us knows what might happen in a few weeks or months. Take it as a given that we share the same goals: the safe reopening of schools and a return to in-person learning. The only points of difference–and they are important– is when to reopen and how to determine whether the schools are safe for students and adults alike.

Carol argues that it is time for schools in New York City, which has a very low positivity rate, to reopen.

She writes:

No one knows with certainty whether New York City public schools can successfully remain open this fall. Some believe a second wave of the virus will overwhelm us, and others believe, for the five boroughs at least, the worst is past.

What is not an unsettled question, however, is the harm to New York’s children if they continue to learn exclusively online. The evidence of remote learning’s ineffectiveness is well established. For years, researchers have studied remote education via online charter schools, and from that research, we know what to expect.

The most comprehensive study of K-12 online schools was the 2015 study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO). That study concluded that students at full-time online charter schools fell far behind similar students in district public schools or traditional charter schools, equivalent to receiving 180 fewer days of learning in math and 72 fewer days in reading.

Macke Raymond, CREDO director, said that the gains in math were so small, it was “literally as though the student did not go to school for the entire year.”

A 2019 study of Pennsylvania online schools confirmed those results. It found that when compared with public school peers who were learning in person, online students lost “the annual equivalent of 106 days of learning in reading and 118 days in math.”

When it comes to graduating high school students in four years, online learning has terrible results. Half of all online high schools’ graduation rates are below 50%. These failing schools enrolled three in four online students.

Keep in mind, the above results are from a sector with considerable experience in remote learning and a student body whose families actively sought it.
For our youngest students, online learning is especially problematic. It goes against all of the research regarding how young children learn. Experts also warn us of the dangers of electronic screen time to the development of memory, language and thinking skills, in addition to its association with vision disorders and obesity.
Finally, we must consider our experience with remote learning since COVID to date. When I was a teacher, we had an expression, “You can’t teach an empty seat.” That holds true even when the seat is on the other side of a screen. As of May 27, The Boston Globe reported that 20% of all Boston students were “virtual dropouts,” not logging in since the beginning of that month. More than one month into the pandemic, thousands of California students could not be accounted for, and this summer, in New York City, 23% of students never logged on to summer school at all.

Since we closed our school doors, children have not slipped through cracks, they have fallen into canyons.

This is not to argue that we must open schools now across the United States as if the pandemic does not exist. Rather, it is to make the case that in those few states and cities like New York, where the virus is remarkably low, we have a moral obligation to children and our nation to try.

Will it take courage, faith and discipline? It will. Will students who refuse to follow safety rules need to learn from home? Sadly, yes. Should teachers and children with underlying conditions have a remote option? Of course. Openings will not be perfect, and schools may have to close from time to time. But if we throw up objection after complaint as we “get ready to get ready to get ready,” we undermine the trust of parents and fuel the fears of parents and teachers alike.

Even as we did during COVID’s darkest days, New York City can provide the leadership to other major cities, giving evidence of what to do when re-opening their schools as their rates of virus decline.
What we cannot do is try to wait COVID out. Childhood is short, and every year is precious. No politician, pundit or leader can put it on pause.

Arthur Goldstein, a veteran New York City high school teacher, warns that New York City public schoools cannot open unless they are safe for students and staff. He wrote an open letter to staff at his school. The signs and portents of a strike by the city’s United Federation of Teachers are looming in the background.

He writes, in part,

Every time I read someone advocating opening buildings, they have a proviso. They say of course, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll go back to remote learning. In fact there are a lot of places where it didn’t work out, and they did just that. There’s Israel, South Korea, multiple schools in the south and southwest, and universities that saw immediate rises in infection levels, while starting below Mayor de Blasio’s much ballyhooed 3% positive level (so much for that). Chapel Hill closed in one week.

There’s a real cost to these openings, and that cost is the health of those who attend. I know some of you who’ve been very sick. I know some of you who’ve lost family members. I’ve had family members sick, and I lost a friend.

The whole country is looking to us as the only major city that can possibly open school buildings. UFT has looked at this, and decided that if we are to open, the only way to do it is safely. We’ve therefore consulted with medical experts, some of whom you can see at Mulgrew’s press conference, and concluded the only way to deal with the virus was to actively test for it and trace it.

We don’t want a single educator or student to get sick. We don’t want any students or employees bringing COVID home to their families. The UFT demands for testing were created in consultation with medical experts. They are beyond reasonable; they are visionary. We’ve looked at the failures and determined ways to preclude them. Our testing demands are based on science. The mayor’s opposition is based on hiding his head in the sand and hoping for the best.

Here is a checklist of what UFT will be looking at as we visit every building in the city. UFT also demands a Covid Building Response Team to create protocols for how students will move when entering and leaving school, and also to map out responses to issues that may occur. Finally, to ensure safety, we demand that everyone entering the school building be tested for the virus. We demand random testing to ensure we stay safe.

UFT will not allow its members or the students we serve to be veritable canaries in a coal mine. Dr. Fauci can talk about how we’re part of a great experiment, but we refuse to be guinea pigs. We refuse to make guinea pigs of our families, our students, or their families. If Mayor de Blasio refuses to make schools safe, we will refuse to work.

Gary Rubinstein writes here about a lawsuit filed by parents of children on Success Academy’s “got to go” list. The celebrated charter chain settled for $1.1 million. The corporate chain fought the lawsuit for 4.5 years, refused to turn over documents but finally settled.

Gary writes:

Success Academy is the largest and most controversial charter chain in New York. By one measure — state test scores — it is the most successful. But over the years they have been embroiled in several significant scandals. The two most prominent was the ‘rip and redo’ incident, where a teacher was caught on tape screaming at and ripping up a paper of a very well behaved young child, and the ‘got to go’ list where a principal created a list of students he planned to either expel or otherwise compel to leave.

But beyond these two high profile scandals, there are thousands of unreported mini-scandals that are just as harmful to the students who suffer them. Over the years hundreds, if not thousands, of families have suffered from the way that Success Academy gets those families to transfer their children out of the school. One trick they use a lot is threatening to leave back — or actually leaving back — students who are passing their classes and the state tests. This was documented nicely in a podcast about them last year. But the most heartless way they get parents to ‘voluntarily’ switch to another school is through coordinated harassment. When Success Academy has students who do not respond to their strict disciplinary code, what they do is start calling the parents day after day and demand that the parents come get their children. Sometimes the phone calls start at 8:00 AM. If the parents are at work and they are not able to come and get the child, Success Academy threatens to call Administration for Child Services (ACS) on them and, in some cases, actually does call ACS or the police or has the child picked up by an ambulance and brought to the emergency room. Even with all this, Success Academy is still the darling of the education reform movement since, I guess, the ends (high state test scores) justify the means (abusing — in my opinion — families and children).

In December 2015, five families of Success Academy students filed a civil suit against them. The five families had similar complaints about how Success Academy created what the lawsuit called a ‘hostile learning environment.’ Many of the children had various disabilities, like ADHD. Some of the court filings that I have read describe how Success Academy did not modify their protocols to address these disabilities. Also in the documents the families filed, we learn that Success Academy was not cooperative during the five year trial.

Gary wonders whether other families treated shabbily by Success Academy be encouraged to sue by this precedent?

Spokespersons for principals, teachers, and nurses have called on Mayor De Blasio to delay reopening and provide more time to prepare schools, reports Gotham Gazette, a publication of the Citizens Union Foundation.

The principals union, the teachers union, and the nurses union have come out against the ​city’s plan to reopen classrooms on September 10 with a mix of remote and in-person learning.

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators urged the officials to move the start of in-person school to the end of September to give schools more time to prepare, while offering fully remote learning as they do.

​”​Given the lack of information and guidance available at this time, CSA believes that NYCDOE’s decision to open for in-person learning on September 10th is in disregard of the well-being of our school communities​,” wrote CSA President Mark Cannizzaro.

The union is seeking more clarity on essential questions around sufficient staffing, hiring of nurses, PPE supplies, and support for students with special needs, among others. With individual school plans due to city officials Friday, if approved administrators and teachers will have fewer than 15 “working days” to implement them before students arrive, Cannizzaro wrote.

Leonie Haimson summarizes the pluses and minuses of reopening schools in New York City.

She points out:

Many public health experts and epidemiologists agree that NYC schools seem to be in the best position of any large district in the country to offer face-to-face learning, with an COVID positivity rate of only about one percent.

Our positivity rate is very low and the lowest we are likely to see until there is an effective vaccine, which could take a year or more to be developed and widely adopted. By borough, according to the state, the current positivity rates ranges from 1.3% in the Bronx, .9% in Staten Island and Brooklyn, .8% in Queens and .6% in Manhattan.

However, and this is a big however, schools should be reopened only if they can adopt rigorous safety and health protocols.

One of the biggest risks to safety right now is the poor ventilation in many NYC schools. Ventilation is a critical issue, as closed and stuffy rooms will intensify the risks of infection and virus spread. Many schools have lousy or broken ventilation systems, and/or classrooms with windows that don’t open or no windows at all, as I pointed out in this article. According to a principal survey we did ten years ago, 40% reported they had classrooms with no windows – and I doubt the situation has improved…

While many parents and teachers have been pushing for outdoor learning for safety reasons, the DOE has not provided them with any support to achieve this important goal. In fact, I have heard that some schools have said the DOE is discouraging them from providing outdoor recess or learning…

Another critical issue is the lack of testing with results fast enough to ensure that students and staff who are ill know to stay home and quarantine rather than infect others. Right now, many testing sites across the city take 5-15 days to deliver results, which is nearly useless. More and more, states are realizing that to safely reopen schools, they should adopt rapid antigen testing, which gives results within minutes and cost only $1-$2 each. Six governors from Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia have teamed up to buy large quantities of these quick testing kits, but not Governor Cuomo, for some reason.

Rather than join this consortium and help schools reopen safely, Gov. Cuomo has lambasted schools over the weekend for not having their own testing procedures in place, something they do not have the funds, the staffing or the expertise to do. Though he rightfully stepped in to help hospitals by purchasing PPE and helping to quickly expand testing sites when the COVID crisis first hit, he now acts that he has no responsibility to do the same to help and support schools in this difficult time.

Understandably, many parents are confused and ambivalent. Despite the Mayor’s spin that more than 700,000 students chose to engage in some form of in-person learning in the fall, it appears that fewer than half NYC parents registered any preference on the online survey, with 264,000 parents opting into remote learning and 131,000 blended learning. Many families seem to be waiting to see what the plan is for their schools, after which they can choose full-time remote learning at any time.

Gary Rubinstein reviews Thomas Sowell’s recent book about charter schools and their enemies.

Thomas Sowell is an economist and a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution. He is African American and has long been highly critical of affirmative action and anything that smacks of lowered standards for black students. He is a hard-right libertarian. Many years ago, we were friends, and I invited him to lecture at Teachers College, where his views were not well received. He is 90 years old and still fighting, which I respect.

Rubinstein writes that the first four chapters of his six chapter book are a rehash of “Waiting for ‘Superman’” myths, such as the long discredited claim that the children in charters are precisely the same as those who are not in a charter. He loathes teachers’ unions and thinks that their opposition to charters is purely greed and self-interest. He identifies Mayor Bill DeBlasio as a fierce enemy of charters, which is absurd, since he gave up fighting them in 2014, after Governor Cuomo and the hedge funders defeated DeBlasio’s efforts to limit their expansion.

I gather from Gary’s review that Sowell singles me out as a critic, appropriately, but I have no idea what motive he attributes to me since I have no financial interest or self-interest in opposing charter growth.

After the first four chapters, he segues into a different mode, acknowledging that students who enter charters are more motivated than those who are not.

Gary concludes:

Chapter 6, the final chapter, is called ‘Dangers’ and it is about other ways that politicians and teacher’s unions undermine charter school growth. There are unfair charter caps. There are people who want charters to teach social justice to their students which he calls ‘indoctrination.’ He also does not like charters having to teach ‘sex education’ or ‘ethnic studies.’ Finally, he resents that some charter critics want the charters to have their meetings open to the public and to have their records open to public scrutiny. He says that this will make the board members targets of smear campaigns and have their homes vandalized.

All in all, this was quite a strange read. I don’t imagine that many reformers want to be identified with his arguments from the last two chapters and since the first four chapters have already been done in 2010 with “Waiting For Superman”, this book is not one that I imagine will be remembered for being very relevant.

Still it is interesting to see how little is left in the reform defender’s arsenal.

It is interesting too that this most recent defense of charter schools comes from an economist who has long been recognized as a hard-edged rightwinger.

Leonie Haimson writes that charter schools in New York City cleaned up with the Paycheck Protection Program, even none of them lost their secure government funding.

Payday!

Leonie writes:

In NY State there are 144 charter schools and management organizations that received PPP funding, the vast majority of which are in NYC. Fully 108 NYC charters and charter management companies received between $102 million and $236 million in these funds, with an average of between $940,000 and $2.2 million each.

The Charter Management Organization of New Visions and its assorted charters received between $6.7 million and $15 million dollars, despite the fact that they receive public school space free of charge and services from DOE. In 2018, they also received a $14 million grant from the Gates Foundation to “work with” NYC public schools — which to this day have not been identified. Coincidentally or not, the Gates Foundation director of K12 schools Robert Hughes came to the Gates Foundation from New Visions.One of their schools, New Visions Charter HS for the Humanities II, will be receiving an extra amount of between $2,000 and $4,000 per student, based upon their total enrollment last year of 496.

Harlem Children’s Zone was awarded between $4 million and $10 million, with Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy II receiving between $1,800 and $4,500 per student, based on their total enrollment last year of 1,093. The Hebrew Language Academies, heavily subsidized by billionaire Michael Steinhardt, received between $2.8 million and $6 million. One of their schools, Harlem Hebrew Language Academy, is receiving between $1,400 and $2,900 per student, based on their planned enrollment of 696 last year. Harlem Village Academy West Charter School received between $2 million and $5 million, from $2,200 to $5,500 per student based on last year’s enrollment of 902.

Williamsburg Charter High School was given between $2 million and $5 million, a total of $2,000 to $5,000 per student based on their enrollment last year of 963. Brilla College Preparatory Charter Schools received between $1 million and $2 million, $1,400 to $3,000 per student based on their enrollment of 677. Pave Academy Charter School, founded by the son of billionaire Julian Robertson, was awarded between $1 million and $2 million, equaling about $2,000 to $4,000 per student based on their enrollment last year of 490.

KIPP charter and KIPP LLC (which I guess is its Management Organization) is getting between $3 million and $5 million, despite also receiving $86 million from a federal charter school grant in 2019, and many millions more previously. Uncommon Charters, which has been criticized for its abusive disciplinary practices, received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP funds. The full state and city list is below.

So are charter schools public or private? Depends on where the money is.

Chalkbeat reports that many parents are calling on Mayor DeBlasio to endorse outdoor classes.

A Brooklyn lawmaker has joined the growing chorus of parents and activists calling on the city to close streets around school buildings for use as car-free space for recreation, lunch, small group instruction and other activities.

In just two days, City Council Member Brad Lander received proposals from 14 schools from his district — stretching from Boerum Hill and Park Slope to Sunset Park and Kensington — to use surrounding streets. He called on the Department of Transportation to establish an “Open Streets: Schools” program to help coordinate and oversee a citywide operation.

“Families, teachers, school staff and many others are deeply concerned about the safety of sending students back to indoor school in the fall, about whether their school facilities can be made safe (e.g. what about the schools where windows don’t open),” Lander wrote Thursday to the transportation department.

Lander’s letter is part of the effort to maintain social distance guidelines while providing in-person learning this year. Schools are figuring out how to safely hold socially distant classes for their hybrid of in-person and remote schedules, opting to repurpose cafeterias, auditoriums and even office space as classrooms. The push to look outdoors comes as much of the scientific evidence points to less transmission of the coronavirus outside, and as many families remain concerned about the ventilation inside classrooms despite promises from city officials that HVAC systems and ventilation upgrades are underway. Schools are also grappling with how to figure out how to follow social distancing rules with limited space, which means that most children will attend school next year between one and three days a week.

“This is especially dire for students in our most crowded schools, who may end up with up to 66 percent fewer school days simply by virtue of where they live,” Lander wrote.

The letter suggests that blocks could be closed to traffic during school hours to make room for students. Temporary tents could be set up for shade or rain protection, or in some cases, blocks could be fully closed to allow schools to set up semi-permanent tents and outdoor classroom spaces.