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Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Protocols Issued By The NYC Department of Education For Re-Opening Schools Are Untenable

DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza (inset). Tweed Courthouse on 52 Chambers Street, which
serves as the Department of Education's headquarters.
J.C. Rice, Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock (inset)
The protocols just issued by the NYC Department of Education on what to do if someone gets the COVID-19 virus in school or out (see article in the NY POST, below) are part of a well-thought-out plan....NOT.

What are parents going to do when they, or the guardians, work full-time and their child is sent home for two weeks?


Oh, great picture, Chancellor. You look like I feel.

Betsy Combier

DOE releases new protocols for positive COVID-19 cases in schools
Selim Algar, NY POST, July 30, 2020

The Department of Education released new protocols Thursday for handling any possible confirmed coronavirus cases in schools this upcoming year.
The DOE plan states that if one or more students from the same class test positive their classrooms will close and anyone who had close contact with those students should self-quarantine for 14 days.
If two or more children in the same school test positive for the virus but do not share a classroom, the entire building will close for two weeks.
If at least two cases arise in the same building but the infections occurred outside of school, the DOE will also shutter the whole building while investigating the source of the exposures.
Once the probes into those cases are completed, the school will reopen while the impacted classrooms will remain closed for two weeks. Additional students and staff will be quarantined based on where the exposure took place.
If tracing efforts can’t determine infection origins, schools will be automatically shuttered for 14 days.
Kids who are compelled to leave classrooms because of exposure will transition to remote learning.
“We are doing everything in our power to keep kids healthy while ensuring they are getting the education they deserve,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.
“These rigorous test and trace protocols will keep our students and staff safe as we start off this new school year.”
The DOE said it will encourage all school staffers to get tested in the days prior to the scheduled September 10 start of the new year and will be given priority at 34 testing sites throughout the city.
If clusters emerge, the DOE said it could take more drastic measures based on the circumstances.
The department will also require some form of documentation in order to consider a case confirmed.
“New Yorkers did the incredibly difficult work reducing the risk posed by COVID-19, and as a result we’re in a better position than any other city in the country to safely resume in-person education under the current conditions and with clear, consistent health protocols,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
Students and teachers who feel sick will be required to stay home and are encouraged to get tested if their symptoms are consistent with the coronavirus.
Kids who feel unwell in school will be isolated and monitored by a staff member until they can be picked up, officials said.
Staffers who exhibit signs of illness will be also asked to leave their buildings.
City Hall’s reopening plan will have students alternate between classroom and remote learning.
The format has been met with stiff resistance from both the city teachers and principals union. Both groups have questioned the DOE’s logistical and safety preparedness.
Mayor de Blasio has lobbied for a blended reopening and has stressed the need to provide some scheduling relief for parents who can’t work remotely.
Principal Robert Bender outside of PS 11 in Manhattan.
Stephen Yang
See also this:
Selim Algar, NY POST, July 30, 2020

A Manhattan principal cautioned parents at his school this week that their kids will likely be in classrooms only five or six times a month this upcoming year, the Post has learned.
PS 11 administrator Bob Bender said that social distancing requirements will severely curtail the number of students who can be physically present in school each day.
“This means that a small group of students will be coming to school for about 5-6 times per month and then learning remotely on the other days,” he wrote in a letter to parents.
As part of its school reopening plan, City Hall will have kids alternating between classroom and remote learning to satisfy coronavirus safety protocols.
Mayor de Blasio’s reopening plan anticipates that most kids attending class 2 to 3 times a week — although he acknowledged that there would be exceptions. Some schools, officials said, would be in their buildings once or twice a week.
“For the vast majority of kids in the vast majority of schools, you’re be going to school, to the classroom either two days a week or three days a week depending on the week,” de Blasio said on July 8.
Principals at large or crowded schools across the city are struggling to devise plans that would allow for that level of frequency.
A current Stuyvesant High School model splits its large student body of over 3,300 kids into four cohorts — a scenario that would have them in their facility once a week.
De Blasio has backed a limited return to city school buildings — in part to provide scheduling relief for parents who can’t work remotely.
But the plan has met with loudening resistance from key city forces – including the teachers and principals unions.
Those groups want more safety assurances and have questioned the DOE’s preparation level for a resumption of campus learning.
In his message to parents, Bender said blended learning guidelines submitted by the Department of Education could be difficult to implement.
The DOE has given city parents the opportunity to opt for a remote-only format for the upcoming year.
“Schools are free to explore and discuss a variety of reopening options with their communities, but principals will submit a final proposal from the three models we laid out,” said DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson. “Schools can apply for exceptions and families have the ability to opt into fully-remote learning at any time, at any school.”

The #ReOpenClass Action Lawsuit For Special Education Students Has More Than 500 Parents Signed Up

Patrick Donohue

This post is an update of the previous post,

Parent Activist Patrick Donohue Sues the NYC Department of Education For Neglecting Special Needs Kids During COVID-19

From: Patrick Donohue <>
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2020, 4:03 PM

Subject: NBC News interview about national ReOpenClass action lawsuit

NBC News just interviewed me about our national #ReOpenClass action lawsuit demanding school districts to either reopen the schools for special education students OR provide a Pendency Voucher and allow parents to self-cure (  All of the details, including a copy of the federal complaint filed in the Southern District of New York, is located on the website and the media advisory is below.

There are now over 500 families from more than 25 states who have joined this effort (and growing every hour)!  Here was my interview on NY1 speaking about the #ReOpenClass action lawsuit:  And in case you didn’t see the previous article in the New York Post:

There will be some MAJOR developments happening next week … so be sure to check out or follow the efforts on Facebook (Re-open Class) or Twitter (@ReOpenClass).

All the best,

Patrick B. Donohue, JD, MBA
Founder & Chairman, Brain Injury Rights Group
300 East 95th Street, #130, New York, NY 10128

MEDIA ADVISORY                                   Contact: William Frazier              
(888) 927-4332 (927-IDEA)
July 30, 2020                                                                Email:

National Class Action To Re-Open Schools Has Website:
Families Across America With Special Needs Demand Schools Re-Open

NEW YORK, NY – Civil Rights attorney, Patrick Donohue, and Brain Injury Rights Group announced a National Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of millions of special education students across the country. The lawsuit seeks to reopen their schools to provide in-person services OR provide a Pendency Voucher for parents to self-cure. It also seeks compensation for the students and parents for the failure of their school districts to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) since mid-March when schools were shut down during the coronavirus crisis.

There is now a website set up with all of the details, including a copy of the federal complaint which was filed in the Southern District of New York:

There are more than 7 million students in the United States between 3 and 21 years of age receiving special education services (over 200,000 in New York City alone). These students have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) with their local school districts that outline the educational program the student is supposed to receive. When the local school districts unilaterally, substantially and materially changed their educational programs by sending these 6.7 million students home in mid-March to receive “remote learning”, or no services at all, they violated the federal civil rights of these students under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA). In many cases, the local school districts failed to even provide live synchronous service to these students while they were home. Instead, the responsibility for “remote learning” landed squarely on the shoulders of parents across America. Many parents had to quit or lost their jobs and some had to pay money out of their own pocket to do what the local school districts were getting paid to do: provide educational benefits to their disabled child!

More than 500 families from over 25 states have already signed up to be part of the national class action. Families are going directly to the website: or are calling the toll-free hotline: 888-927-4332 / 888-927-IDEA.

Patrick Donohue is a civil rights attorney who became an advocate after his daughter, Sarah Jane, who was violently shaken by her baby nurse when she was only five days old, breaking four ribs, both collarbones and causing a severe brain injury. The Brain Injury Rights Group is a national civil rights legal advocacy non-profit organization located in New York City. Besides Brain Injury Rights Group, Mr. Donohue has founded one of the largest brain injury programs in the country located in New York City, the International Institute for the Brain (iBRAIN).