More Schools Get Smart

May 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm 4 comments

The Times City Room blog reports that another 6 schools are closing because of the/a flu. The closest one to Forest Hills is in Corona, PS 143, where “38 of 1,311 students experienced flulike illnesses during the last three school days.” Starting to feel hemmed in yet?

Okay, so we’re not calling it swine flu, but meanwhile, we all know people who have been knocked over by some kind of type-A flu. At this point, does it matter what we call it? I don’t get the sense that there is much accuracy to the numbers being batted around by the media. And many people ride it out at home, so their cases go unidentified. 

I really do get why the city is loathe to close down more schools around here (even if I don’t agree with it). And it’s obvious that no matter what Bloomberg does, he’s going to get socked by criticism. But there’s also something illogical going on: The city keeps the schools open because whatever is floating through the hallways may or may not be swine flu and parents need the childcare coverage. Then some kids start getting sick and miss a full week of school during which they are completely incapacitated. Other parents see this happening and decide to keep their kids home, leading to a cascade of further absences. The cycle continues until the school has no choice but to close. Now we’ve got a real childcare problem, as well as an onslaught of visitors at the hospital

What stands out in situations like this is that our institutions–the ones we placidly believe exist to protect our interests and feed us the information we need to make good decisions–react with crowd control first, analytical thinking a distant second. 

Sorry to wax so cynically about this, folks. I’m really concerned about how this is playing out and what it will look like in a few short months.

_____________________________

Update: the total is now 8 more schools closed–In New York City on Thursday, eight more schools were closed, bringing the total to 38 citywide: in Queens, Public School and Intermediate School 499 in Flushing, P.S. 143 in Corona, P.S. 203 in Oakland Gardens and I.S. 73 in Maspeth; also P.S. 111 in Eastchester, the Bronx, and Middle School 113 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, which also houses a special education school.

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Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eric  |  May 22, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    We in New Jersey are watching the situation, hoping it doesn’t jump the Hudson (although there are scattered cases here as well). One hopes that the cases stay relatively mild.

    Reply
  • 2. Anonymous  |  May 22, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    You are totally overreacting. Doctors aren’t even taking swabs anymore for “swine flu” or prescribing medicine, unless there is another condition that puts the patient at real risk, eg. asthma.

    Reply
  • 3. karbeth  |  May 22, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I don’t think there’s any overreacting going on. A widely spreading flu or other virus has touched too many families to count. Example: I forgot to pick up my friend’s son the other day (I had hurt my foot very badly and was out of it). No problem, the kid was fine, mom got him, etc. So now, two days later, he’s home with the flu, so maybe my negligence helped me avoid a brush with it?…except my kid is now coughing and saying his throat hurts!

    Reply
  • 4. Anonymous  |  May 23, 2009 at 5:23 am

    I agree with 6:20pm. There is too much overreaction going on.

    Yes, this flu is traveling quickly and everyone should exhibit common sense. Wash hands, cover your mouth, etc.

    But, to close schools makes no sense at all. As a parent of 4 kids in Public Schools, I feel pretty confident that the cleaning that happens after the schools are closed is meaningless. Meanwhile all the children that are going to school while it is “closed for cleaning” are going to the movies, McDonalds, etc. and spreading their germs there.

    Reply

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