Location. Location. Location.

Aug 13, 2020 by

Location. Location. Location. 

That’s not only the watchword for real estate, but also a linchpin for quality alternative sites for school buildings that have been temporarily condemned for being suspected hothouses of COVID contagion.

Chancellor Richard Carranza, not an accomplished swimmer in troubled waters, is drowning under pressure to keep the nation’s largest school system afloat.  He’s tried every stroke the lifeguards have tried to teach him.   It will take a stroke of luck, driven by a storm of miracles, to make his unstable hodgepodge work at least until the next wave.
The current re-opening plan is not logistically feasible, scientifically defensible or marketable as public policy.
Looking past September’s inaugural fiasco, developments will sooner or later demand a quick bailing out of the hybrid experiment.  What is transparently inevitable often goes unforeseen by the  vision-challenged DOE.  

In response to the Mayor and Chancellor’s call for help, last month, Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President, is assisting the DOE prepare for the eventuality of sending kids to other locales when their schools are forced to close on short notice because of virus outbreaks. 

Her office has done the grunt work of tracking down potential venues.  It will remain withing the DOE’s purview,  and hopefully their realm of competence, to vet them and negotiate leases.

Some very greedy landlords go to bed every night dreaming of deals with the DOE and their lust has been consummated too often and predictably.  The military’s profligate procurement indulgences are frugal by comparison. 

The DOE has a fetish for being ripped off and will pay almost any price, so long as it’s confiscatory and they are not personally held accountable.
Included among the makeshift schools are community centers, plazas, hotels, restaurants, offices of nonprofit groups, and churches. On the list is The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.  Word has it that they already have a Deans Office ideal for restorative justice.
Another recommendation is the Jing Fong dim sum eatery in Chinatown, which is a facility with many courses that staff and students will savor with relish.

The BP’s initiative of scanning and scouring the City for ready-to-use areas is commendable.  The Real Estate Board of New York and the School Construction Authority have gotten into the act.  In the case of the SCA, it is probably an act indeed.

According to The City, an independent newsroom, the SCA referred all questions about programs and applicants to the DOE whose spokesperson, in turn, left the inquirers hanging. 

Heard of “passing the buck”? This is “passing the silent treatment”.

Mayor DeBlasio assures New Yorkers that he has “been working on all fronts to make schools safe.”His fronts are  on the backside of time.
“Every classroom will be socially distanced. Every part of the school will be socially distanced”, added the Mayor with gravitas that he practiced with due diligence in front of a mirror.
Social distancing is impossible to implement and enforce anywhere in the school system or its improvised appropriated outposts.  Any belief to the contrary is dead on arrival at the emergency room of reality.

Chancellor Carranza’s claim that students who refuse to wear a mask will be sent home is absurd.  Get real!  All  that would achieve is a reduction in class size to zero throughout the city.

The re-opening of schools will be a mess of biblical proportions.
Ron Isaac

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