The terraces of New York are already buzzing with activity, baseball fans will soon be filling the stands at Yankee Stadium, but Laura Beth Gilman’s children still haven’t made their way back to high school. Their teaching says “Synchronous” comes down to ten hours of videoconferencing per week; they haven’t had math or English lessons since January.
“They are depressed, testifies this resident of the Upper West Side. Their sleep is completely out of order, I hear them talking to their friends at 2 a.m., and sometimes I have to get them out of bed to get them to work. They miss their friends. Meanwhile, private school students are in class five days a week. “ The most distressing thing, she said, is that the municipality gives no guarantee of a return to normalcy at the start of the September school year. “It’s to the point where we hesitate to renew our lease this summer. Maybe it would be better to leave New York? Or move to a smaller apartment, save money and send it to the private sector? “
Laura Beth Gilman is one of the twenty-five plaintiffs scheduled to take the New York State Supreme Court this week to order Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio to “ re-establish full-time face-to-face education without delay in all establishments ”. For this bunch of angry parents of students, mostly from upper middle-class Manhattan neighborhoods, the slow resumption of school life violates their children’s constitutional right to a “Solid education”.
Reopening in trompe-l’oeil
“Distance education is an emergency measure, the duration of which should never have exceeded a month or two, pleads Jim Mermigis, their lawyer, who has already obtained this winter the reopening of schools in Scotch Plains, in New Jersey. The damage it causes to children is irreparable, as many experts attest. The teachers were among the first to be vaccinated, there is no longer any reason for them to be home. ”
“Suicide attempts are on the rise, eating disorders are on the rise, child psychiatry services are saturated. »Natalya Murakhver, parent of a pupil
In theory, schools are open, the mayor of New York even congratulated himself all winter on having deconfined the 900,000 public students before other American metropolises: elementary school children in December, middle school children in February and high school students in March. In practice, less than 15% of them are physically present in schools on a given day.
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