Out here in Brooklyn, NYC. So I'm a Special Education teacher which has been challenging in its own right for the past 6 years. I begin remote teaching from home tomorrow. While some teachers in some schools and school districts may have an easier transition, its going to suck for me. I just started teaching Autistic high school this year and this was actually my favorite class. The kids have been great and we were working on transitional and vocational life skills. Lots of hands on work and they were doing great. Now boom, I probably won't see them again this year, and depending on the sequence of events, maybe ever. It hurts that I had to pack up my room like it was summer already. Now I might be micromanaged online by administration. Great.
My union (United Federation of Teachers) had a huge public fight with our mayor (I'm sure you all know Bill de Blasio) over closing the schools here as he made several different claims why the schools should remain open such as we need to feed the kids (true, but safety first) or the hardship on the parents for care (also true, but safety first) to that teens won't listen to orders and go outside anyway (whatever you say dude.) Ultimately, after pressure from my union in threatening to go to court and Governor Cuomo speaking using common sense (like uh Mayor close the schools) de Blasio finally relented. Ultimately it showed that they weren't prepared with a plan and how this would escalate. I had to go in for 3 days to pack up my room, do virtual learning PDs, and try to lesson plan. No bueno. Super stressful. The hastiness of everything and the fact that a bunch of my kids have issues accessing technology is going to make this a problem. Also two of the kids I teach are nonverbal and three have parents that speak little to no English. The NYC Department Of Education and the Mayor were unprepared.
Now NYC is far and away the worst place in the country in terms of the outbreak. Someone tested positive in the building I worked in, but I don't know who or if they contracted it from the building. By the third day I went in 3 of my staff members had to self quarantine because they were exposed to someone who tested positive. Several other staff members left by the end of the first day with that news.
This pandemic is one of those things that is a huge negative about living in a densely populated area. The outbreak is going to get real bad here. I've been doing my best to stay home as much as possible, but I still have to go to the laundromat amongst other things. I've been anxious even though I'm pretty sure I'll be OK, but I have a bunch of family members with underlying health issues. The mayor was unprepared, Trump was both unprepared and incompetent, but at least our Governor has been concise and cogent so there is hope. Its going to get worse before it gets better, and I'm hoping for the best, but dreading the worst in terms of potential casualties.
In my lifetime NYC has had to deal with 9-11 and Superstorm Sandy. Both were horrible and tragic and forever changed a bunch of things about NYC. However, this is going to be an ongoing anxiety inducing struggle to stay healthy and sane. Our medical personnel and first responders are going to need as much help as possible, especially since several hospitals have closed in NYC over the past 10 years. We'll see.