On Fri, Aug 21, 2020 at 3:45 PM [names withheld] wrote:
We hope you are doing well and staying safe.[Student name withheld] shared with us the news about your leave of absence. Needless to say, she is devastated, since she was very much looking forward to having her favorite teacher of all time for a second year.
We, of course, respect your personal decision, but were disheartened to learn of what transpired that led to your decision. We have stayed out of the public discourse with regard to the plans for the upcoming school year, having been horrified at some of the dialogue. Your decision, however, has left us very upset – since the school system could not accommodate your desires, given your personal situation.
Every company we are aware of (including mine) has told employees that if they are not comfortable coming into the office, or if their personal circumstances dictate (immune compromised family member, caring for elderly parent, etc.), then they should work from home. There is no reason the Scarsdale school system should not have offered the same to its employees (teachers, administrators, others).
It is admirable that you do not want to receive special attention, but we are guessing that you have left 25 students who were signed up for AT Gov hoping that an accommodation could be made so that you can teach this class 100% remotely — if all parents/students agree. Is this something you would consider? It wouldn’t surprise us if a petition is already circulating!
The shame of all of this is that, given what has transpired with other school re-openings, it seems inevitable that, before long, all Scarsdale classes will need to be taught remotely for the remainder of the school year.
This is all a compliment to you – given you are the once in a generation type of teacher who students remember long after they graduate.
We hope you don’t mind our reaching out. We know you have finalized your plans with the District, but perhaps a compromise for the one AT Gov class could work out well for everyone involved.
Happy to discuss on the phone, if you think that would be constructive. And, happy to reach out to the appropriate administrators, if you are amenable. We are sure this would make 25 seniors very happy!
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 4:07 PM
Hi [Names Withheld],
Thank you so much for your email.
I am immensely flattered by what you said and I share, as you saw in my note, your disappointment entirely along with the fear that if cases were to spike (as I hope and pray they do not) we might all be remote shortly anyway.
As I mentioned to [Name Withheld], I deliberately waited to write to students until after I had completed the process with the district, which I suspect is irreversible at this point.
I did that because one the one hand I felt an obligation to be up front and honest with students about what was happening. I didn’t want people to worry that perhaps I had suddenly gotten sick or something of that nature. But I waited because I deliberately did not want anyone to think that I was trying to somehow orchestrate any kind of reaction from students or parents, which I most certainly am not. I, like everyone, have my own personal feelings about what has taken place but I have stayed out of the public discourse very much on purpose. Being involved in the kind of dialogue that has gone on in recent weeks is entirely outside my comfort zone.
I would never presume to suggest to any parent how or whether to communicate with a school on behalf of what they feel is best for their child. Only your judgment matters there.
But I don’t think it is anything that I can or should be a part of at all or even give any guidance or feedback to you on. And, as I mentioned, because there are teachers who are genuinely worried about coming into school who cannot find their way clear (financially) to NOT come into school I am immensely uncomfortable standing out in comparison to friends and colleagues who are in far greater need.
Again, your inquiry is so kind I really don’t have the proper words to say “thank you”.