Wednesday, March 25, 2020
School teachers collectively outraged at Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor "Carranzavirus"
One after another, sick Brooklyn Technical High School teachers called union chapter leader Nate Bonheimer last week, to tell him they’d tested positive for COVID-19.
By Friday, five of them had shared the devastating news. But after being notified about each one, the city Department of Education still ordered the 6,000-student school’s 350 staffers to show up for work last week, saying the building had been cleaned.
“The DOE did not close the school for any of the cases,” said Bonheimer, who worries that inaction exposed others to the dreaded infection.
The city failed to follow a March 9 directive by the state Education Department that “requires an initial 24-hour closure, in order to begin an investigation to determine the contacts that the individual may have had within the school environment.”
DOE did not attempt to identify close contacts, Bonheimer said. “They did not alert the people who needed to know the most to protect themselves, their families and everyone else they came into contact with.”
One infected teacher was so torn by the secrecy he took it upon himself to personally let all his students know his condition.
Around the city, teachers and administrators are outraged that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza resisted a drum beat to close the public schools in the name of safety.
Some renamed the coronavirus “Carranzavirus.”
“You say equity and excellence, but every other school district closed before you did. You had these kids like petri dishes spreading this to their families,” an administrator fumed.
Some DOE employees believe de Blasio and Carranza deliberately kept the lid on the COVID-19 cases popping up, putting kids and families at risk.
“The blood is on their hands,” one said
A Brooklyn principal has died due to complications from the coronavirus — the first known death of a city public school staffer tied to the pandemic, officials said Monday.
Dezann Romain, 36, led the Brooklyn Democracy Academy in Brownsville, a transfer school that serves students who have dropped out or fallen behind in credits in traditional high school settings.
“It is with profound sadness and overwhelming grief that we announce the passing of our sister, CSA member Dezann Romain, Principal of Brooklyn Democracy Academy, due to complications from Coronavirus,” the union said in a statement.
“Our prayers are with her family and school community as we mourn alongside them. Please keep Principal Romain in your thoughts and continue to do everything possible to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe during this health crisis.”
Romain was promoted from assistant principal between 2016 and 2017, public records show.
“This is painful for all of us, and I extend my deepest condolences to the Brooklyn Democracy Academy community, and the family of Principal Romain,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement.