Monday, Sept. 21, was supposed to mark the start of in-person classes for New York City’s 1.1 million public school students. It was the only big-city district planning to start the school year in person. But with just four days to go, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that only the youngest students, in 3-K and Pre-K, and those with significant special needs, would be coming back on Sept. 21. The rest of the students will phase in by grade level between through Oct. 1. In announcing the changes, the mayor said his decision stemmed from an abundance of caution. “We have got to get it right for our kids,” he said. “They lost a lot.”
It was the latest in a series of upheavals for parents, educators and students in the nation’s largest school district, and the second time the district has announced changes to the start of the school year just a few days in advance. The city’s educator’s unions have for weeks been raising concerns over the issues of safety and staffing that the mayor cited as the basis for the latest decision. The latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the city in the “light green” zone — far ahead of most places around the country. In the past few weeks, 55 teachers have reportedly tested positive for COVID, out of 17,000 tested. That’s a very low ratio — lower than the city as a whole.
France Encourages Use Of Transparent Masks To Help Those With Hearing Loss
Suzy Margueron, a retiree in Paris, usually walks five miles a day, so she knew something was wrong when she barely had the energy to make it to the grocery store in the spring. As it turned out, she was infected with COVID-19. She spent a week collapsed on her couch in March. Even after recovering, the effects of the pandemic continue to create particular challenges for her. That’s because Margueron lost nearly all of her hearing as a young woman — and trying to communicate with people wearing face masks makes daily life exceedingly difficult.
“It’s a drama for all the hard-of-hearing people,” she explains. “I can hear your voice and understand you if I can read your lips. But if you have a mask, I can’t understand anything. It’s horrible. I must guess. All the time, I must guess.” Face masks are now ubiquitous in France. They’re mandatory indoors and outside in many cities like Paris. Masks have proven effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. But they make everyday tasks like grocery shopping challenging for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Most communicate via written and spoken French, as opposed to a much smaller number who rely on sign language.