Saturday, August 22, 2020


Coronavirus Remote Education and Dancing 

Day 154  Saturday August 22

Open Letter to Our Public Leaders
Dear Governor, Mayor, School Chancellor, Borough Presidents, and City Council Members,
As a Dance Educator for the NYC DOE there is nothing I want more than to be back in the classroom with my students and having them take part in activity that engages them physically, cognitively, emotionally, and artistically. That said, as the Director of a Summer Arts program at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) , I was able to do this all online with a blended model. While not ideal, it was successful and a good model for something that we may need to do for a short period of time. It is important to keep in mind that it is temporary and when we are ready and feel safe we will return to the classroom.   

I totally believe that I can be successful in a remote environment but it takes a lot of planning and thoughtful use of the online platform, especially for elementary age children. We as teachers should be getting ready for that now and not thinking of it as an emergency situation. It requires a different way of thinking about your classroom and the ability to be facile in the online environment.  That can only come from sufficient planning and preparation. What we should be doing right now is planning with tech and professional development support and not this back and forth in-person, not in person, part live, part remote, and/or full remote.  

How do I as a teacher plan effectively for all those scenarios and how can students feel any sense of stability and routine if in person education can be interrupted at any time when someone tests positive in your classroom. As a specialist instructor, who will be traveling from class to class for up to 25 classes a week it is possible that I would need to quarantine and go remote on a weekly basis. 

After discussing this with a number of colleagues, I think that students with disabilities that get mandated services should be given priority. They should be in person in the building as much as possible and remote part of the time. All other students go remote full time. Most schools would be able to accommodate their population of students who get services while practicing  all of the CDC guidelines for social distancing and using medical grade PPE. It may very well create an ideal environment for those children as they would get the attention they need without worry of transmission due to exposure.  

All teachers go remote but from their own classrooms. They would have access to all of their materials and would be the only person in their room with all of the support from staff that they need. All teachers would work on the same platform so students will have consistency across all classes. 

We need to do the right thing for the safety of  students, staff, families, and our community. To do that we need to start planning now, actually yesterday, but it is never too late.

Instead of forcing teachers to threaten a strike, why not do the right thing now and prevent further confusion and animosity. At the very least listen to the Principals when they ask for more time or otherwise go fully remote with the plan I mention above or a plan similar to it.

Andrew Jannetti
The Dancing Jedi
P.S. 79 Francis Lewis Elementary  

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