From the newsletter
With vaccination rates going up and infection rates going down, we are all slowly coming out from our caves, blinking in the bright sunlight of normality. Last weekend, I went to a friend’s house for her annual Greek Easter party. Around the kitchen island, we laughed and hugged and drank and nibbled at the roasted lamb. It was exhilarating.
Schools are slowly opening their doors, too. With summer coming, some kids will be able to go to camps and swim clubs.
Of course, progress isn’t happening across the board, in all communities. Some cities in New Jersey have still not opened their doors. There are private and county-run schools for disabled kids that have still not opened their doors. Black and Latino families are more reluctant to send their kids back to school for rather complicated and not fully understood reasons. Few schools in my area are open for full days, five days per week.
This week, I attended the Education Writer’s Association (EWA) annual meeting. It’s a great conference where journalists listen to political leaders and top academic researchers share insights and information. Attendees can type questions for the panelist in the sidebar of the Zoom call.
I tried to get Randi Weingarten, the presidents of the AFT, on the record saying that all schools will open in the fall. I said, “The New York Times reports that the business community is bringing back their workers to the office as early as June. Will all schools be ready for the children of those workers? Will all schools be open full day, five days per week by September?”
She said, “I can’t think of anything that would stop us from doing that.”
Do two negatives equal a positive? I’m not sure, but it’s close enough for me.
Meanwhile, we’re hearing more and more tales about kids who fell through the cracks this past year and a half. The Times’ story about a kid struggling to log onto classes from his mom’s cellphone, after her late night shift at the casino, is tragic. There will be more stories like this, now that reporters are finally admiting that the response to COVID may have been too extreme.
Some kids have felt the pain more than others. At one of the panels on special education at EWA this week, one expert said that they don’t really know exactly how far special ed kids fell behind this year, but that “projections are grim.”
We owe kids. They were promised a dozen eggs, and they only got six. We can’t just pretend that this year and a half didn’t happen.
How can we make it up to kids? How can we get them back on track? The answer came up in every panel that I attended —summer school and tutoring.
Kids need more, more, more. In addition to hot-and-cold-running academic support, they need connections with others, fresh air, exercise, life, laughter. They need to get out of their god awful bedrooms with the damn Chromebooks and be given the opportunity to breathe and to be stimulated.
The usual summer school programming, which traditionally offers de minimis help is not good enough. Schools have six weeks to make something better, something that combines academics with camp-like experiences. Get to it, administrators! Chop, chop!
Business as usual is not acceptable. We need more.
46 thoughts on “Reparations for Children: Business as usual is not acceptable. We need more.”
I’m coming to the feeling that supporting these resources for children (schools, camps, special needs services) is probably going to require more normalization in all work. For example, I think we need to start talking about bringing back all workers. There might be some who stay remote because they can do their work remotely, but those decisions should be made differently. In our neck of the woods, we’ve been saying do your work at home if you can. as a health imperative. And, it has allowed some who can’t really do their work at home to stay home too.
The uproar about the Washingtonian owner’s opinion piece is an example — if the pandemic isn’t the reason they are at home, then a different discussion needs to be had about whether they return to work.
I think this, in turn, will require the government issuing mandates, especially in blue states, sounding all clear for private businesses to make decisions about workplaces and making the decision to start calling government workers back to work.
Really nice article on why this ‘office culture’ aspect is usually profoundly sexist and/or racist.
It’s *expected* that women step up to volunteer for all of the ‘office-culture-fostering’ birthday parties, social events, community building, etc.; and mentoring is frequently also women and (especially if a company is concerned with diversity) people of colour.
Typically, none of this is recognized in performance evaluations, job descriptions or pay rises…
Really struck me. I work in an industry which is predominantly female. We all know that any male working in our field is much more likely to get promoted and end up in a managerial role. (Sucks, but it’s the reality of life – and I’m tough enough, and good enough at my job, with enough professional recognition, and self-confidence to stand up for myself.)
But, it had literally never occurred to me, that I don’t remember a single man *ever* organizing a birthday or retirement or baby-shower celebration – in any of the places I’ve worked. If asked, they’ll contribute (either cash or food as requested); but they’ll never volunteer to organize things.
There’s also this article by the president of Barnard College. Essentially she says that women take advantage of (or have to take advantage of) flex work because women still do most of the work at home and then argues that workplaces will become even more gendered because more women then men will chose flex work at home.
Sometime in early aughts, flex time was really trendy in NYC, so tons of mothers took advantage of it. They were fired first when the economy dipped.
Laura said: “Sometime in early aughts, flex time was really trendy in NYC, so tons of mothers took advantage of it. They were fired first when the economy dipped. ”
On the other side of this, my company makes a practice of offering flexible working conditions (different starting times, some work-from home, part-time – shoot, even working evenings and weekends, if you want it). Deliberately targeting a highly-qualified, experienced (and predominantly female), mid-career workforce.
Knowing, that the companies they were hiring these workers away from – wouldn’t offer any of this (full-time, standard work day is all that was on offer); and that the (highly valuable and experienced) workers were in the classic ‘sandwich’ demographic (kids, elderly parents, other jobs, etc.)
It also has the benefit that many of these workers can increase hours (temporarily) during hyper-busy periods. Or, even voluntarily reduce them: [When we were hit by Covid restriction – one team (who was most significantly impacted by reduction in business) chose to all take a 10% reduction in hours – rather than have anyone fired. They’re now all back up to full-time again]
I think that many of these companies are basically held to ransom by HR (” Look, you have 3 part-time staff, if you just rationalize, you can have one full-time one – and the staff management costs go down”).
They don’t look at the benefits of the flexibility to the business, as well as to the staff concerned.
A common refrain I hear from teachers is that if the school board isn’t meeting in person, than whey should schools be in person? The answer, as far as I’m concerned, is that the school board can do their work remotely, while schools can’t. But, I think as we come to pandemic endgames we need to bring back school boards in person, unless we plan to keep them remote permanently (we could, potentially, but, we wouldn’t be making the decision based on the pandemic risk). I don’t know exactly when that endgame happens, but we need to start talking about it.
Our school committee meetings have been in person since February at least, and we are going to have next week’s town meeting (where we vote on budget items, like $19M to build a new library) in person next week. But now that I don’t have kids in the local schools, I have no idea whether the schools themselves are in person, LOL.
I’ve even heard some buzz around a “GI Bill” for children. That is, children were conscripted, “drafted”, into making a worthy sacrifice: stay home for a bit so that more vulnerable people would not die. Supporters of this proposal urge us to recognize that mandatory sacrifice with something, in the way that returning American soldiers got free college and interest-free mortgages with no down payments? Can we as a nation offer something — or a menu of somethings — from which kids could choose at age 18? (Free, quality, mental health counseling without going through insurance? A year of free vocational/university education? Free rent for a year? An electric vehicle?!)
or just money.
The Wash Post has an article about the Washingtonian staff response to the opinion piece. I’m looking for a second take — the opinion piece seemed innocuous to me.
I don’t think the teachers’ unions will be on board with summer school. Where are the funds to pay for it supposed to come from? Teaching with masks in a hot summer does not sound appealing. It’s not in the base contract, either, is it? I read about the CDC’s guidance for summer camps. If we still had children that age, I would let them hang out at home. They would have more fun in the back yard.
The reaction on Twitter to the opinion piece is vitriolic. I guess if you thought the piece was reasonable, you wouldn’t join the chorus. Who volunteers to be the target of a Twitter mob? JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have set dates for employees to return to the office, but they’ve also moved lots of people out of NYC and other high-cost districts.
This is an interesting study of Covid’s effect on real estate: https://www.cbre.us/research-and-reports/COVID-19-Impact-on-Resident-Migration-Patterns
The real estate market is hopping across the country, except for the urban core: https://www.wcvb.com/article/we-felt-so-hopeless-desperate-buyers-are-going-to-extremes-to-land-homes-in-fierce-market/36352354
There is a reported shortage of workers. I wonder what’s behind that. I don’t think it’s the government payments. It’s more likely to be that people moved during Covid, perhaps back home. They may have sold their cars. Employers might have to offer higher pay. Gas and used cars are more expensive than they used to be.
Employers might find they do not have as much control over workers as they used to. Commuting time is not compensated.
There is this book, published last year, that might shed some light on what’s happening: https://www.amazon.com/Great-Demographic-Reversal-Societies-Inequality/dp/3030426564/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=demographics&qid=1620412021&sr=8-1
In short, a shortage of working-age citizens looms, which will cause an increase in wages. In my opinion, Covid might have hastened it a bit, due to older workers choosing to retire earlier than planned to avoid infection.
“ I guess if you thought the piece was reasonable, you wouldn’t join the chorus. Who volunteers to be the target of a Twitter mob?” well, I certainly didn’t.
I think it was the perceived threat to the current staff that they would lose benefits? I think she meant it more generally.
But the reaction is part of what I’m reacting to. If this pandemic isn’t going to end, it doesn’t matter if we think that the failures of the Republican administration are to blame. We have to move forward with what we have. And permanent school closures just can’t be one of the options.
bj said, “We have to move forward with what we have. And permanent school closures just can’t be one of the options.”
The first step for reparations has to be 5-day full-time school. Now would be a really good time to start.
While I have a lot of hope that younger kids might appreciate a semi-academic camp environment and can eventually get back in the swing of things, I suspect that a lot of big kids (maybe middle school? probably high school?) won’t want reparations in the form of more time in a school building. And the worse their academic situation, the less they’re going to want to go back to school more than the minimum they have to. During pandemic closures, a lot of school kids have aged into being legally able to drop out–and I suspect that that’s what many of them (especially the kids that have disappeared from the system) are going to do.
And there is nothing we can do about that except offer incentives. I do think the idea of paying at risk students to go to school has to be in the toolkit.
bj said, “And there is nothing we can do about that except offer incentives. I do think the idea of paying at risk students to go to school has to be in the toolkit.”
Also, a number of kids have probably been sucked into entry level employment without finishing high school, as entry level pay has been getting increasingly enticing over the past year.
Years ago, I taught adult ESL at a large Pittsburgh employer. The employees (who were part of a refugee program and worked processing mail) came in for some classroom instruction (90 or 120 minutes?) during the working day that I believe they were paid for. There are some large employers (for example, Amazon) that might be a good fit for that.
And yes, bosses will decide whether their business and which employees can function remotely. Whether they will find the workers they want will have to be part of that decision.
Again, anecdata from my workplace.
We have a big division between those who need to be in-person to do their jobs (warehouse staff, deliveries, physical processing, etc.) and those who can be (most of the time) remote.
I belong to the ‘remote’ group – but do need to be in the office periodically for the face-to-face problem-solving stuff – which just works better in person. I try to make sure that my boss in on the same day – so I can catch her and do some problem resolution stuff which is high on my agenda, but not so much on hers….
We have one team which, prior to Covid was not allowed to work from home (and resented it) and have been highly reluctant to come back. Their manager has pushed for 1 day a week in the office – and they’ve agreed, but it’s amazing how most of them find an excuse not to be there on that day. [I have a sniffle – so shouldn’t come in; I have a headache, so shouldn’t drive; I have a sick parent/child to look after, so can’t be there; but I’m fine working in isolation at home.]
That team has a new hire – who is starting next week. I caught up with the manager, this week, who’s basically bitten the bullet and scheduled herself to work in the office to induct the person – since the ‘team’ won’t be there….
While none of these workers are technically irreplaceable – replacing them isn’t a trivial task (there’s a huge amount of institutional knowledge) – and many of the potential replacements would also want to work from home.
I agree that this is an ‘age’ thing. This is a mid- to late- career team – the job requires a lot of industry knowledge and relationships (which takes time to develop); and these people all have comfortable homes which suit remote working, and many have serious commutes which they do not enjoy.
And while ‘other duties’ (mentoring new staff, sharing knowledge, etc.) may be in the JD – no one gets evaluated or rewarded on this. It’s all the statistics-based performance objectives which get measured and rewarded. If employers want to change this – then they need to start ensuring that these ‘soft skills’ are acknowledged and start paying people a premium for this.
On another note – I know of someone (working for another company) who was ‘told’ to return to work in the office full time (not a performance-based decision, but management philosophy). Not open to discussion or negotiation. My way or the highway.
She’s left and found a great role which enables her to have the flexibility she needs (and more money).
The original employer struggled to fill the role, and have ended up splitting it into 3 – and hiring 3 newish graduates. They’ve lost a chunk of business to competitors (not following the employee – who has changed industries) but basically they allowed a large chunk of institutional knowledge and competence to just walk out the door, because they weren’t willing to be flexible about employment; and their customers saw the drop in competence and took their business elsewhere.
The original employee is fine. The 3 newbies are miserable: management is blaming them for losing customers), and there is no one to mentor them (I suspect they may walk in the near future). The employer is now frantically trying to hire someone with industry experience – but not getting very far because of their reputation for staff mis-management.
Fascinating qualitative data. You are describing industries where people worked out of the office before the pandemic, I think?
Expedia moved to new fancy digs on the waterfront before the pandemic and had already designed their office space with the knowledge that only 60% of their workforce was at the building on any day. All spaces are shared and individual people have lockers. REI has said they’ll let corporate workers work from home. Microsoft is slowly opening up, but letting employees chose. Amazon, though, has said they’ll be “office-centric” (My guess is that will mean that you have to have power before you are allowed to work at home). Amazon has invested fairly heavily in making both its flagship space desirable and in transforming the neighborhood around it.
Those companies all have young workforces — pre-pandemic I was in a bar with the middle-aged parents I serve on a board with, and definitely noticed how different we were from the after work crowd. We were older and far more female.
“And while ‘other duties’ (mentoring new staff, sharing knowledge, etc.) may be in the JD – no one gets evaluated or rewarded on this. It’s all the statistics-based performance objectives which get measured and rewarded. If employers want to change this – then they need to start ensuring that these ‘soft skills’ are acknowledged and start paying people a premium for this. ”
This is true in so many workplaces, including colleges. The development of more metrics for measuring work tends to undervalue anything not included in the metric. I don’t think people were paid for the soft skills before the metrics, but I think part of how it worked was that inefficiency and softness allowed for the other work to be done, by at least some, because they found it rewarding and were not being worked to extract every last bit of efficiency out of them. Some people might have been lazy (i.e. used the time for themselves in ways that didn’t benefit the company). But, some people did spend time trying to help a co-worker learn something or to make people feel like work was a nice place to be.
bj said, ‘All spaces are shared and individual people have lockers.”
That reminds me of a British comedy about the BBC that husband and I started, where that’s more or less how the BBC workers work–vast open office spaces with no assigned seating for peons. It winds up being like a big game of musical chairs and you spend a lot of time looking for working space.
It might not be that dystopian in practice, of course.
Amp P said:
Amp P said: “That reminds me of a British comedy about the BBC that husband and I started, where that’s more or less how the BBC workers work–vast open office spaces with no assigned seating for peons. It winds up being like a big game of musical chairs and you spend a lot of time looking for working space.”
3rd time trying to reply – clearly the gods are not in my favour….
Amy P said: “That reminds me of a British comedy about the BBC that husband and I started, where that’s more or less how the BBC workers work–vast open office spaces with no assigned seating for peons. It winds up being like a big game of musical chairs and you spend a lot of time looking for working space.”
My experience observing this.
Company switched to open plan, with a few small ‘office’ spaces (with closing doors – for privacy (e.g. reference checks, etc.), rest pure open plan with little mobile lockers you could move around to ‘your’ space.
Intention: people work in different combinations depending on who they need to network with at the moment, and space use is more flexible and fewer desks required.
* Team leaders and senior staff stake out the ‘offices’ (because they “need the privacy”). Occupation becomes an informal privilege of status.
* Favoured spaces are quickly established (close to, or away from air con, without back to passage-ways, near windows, etc.)
* Issues of ‘favourite’ chair arise (I kid you not!) Staff members wander around looking for the person who’s taken ‘their’ chair, and/or complaining that all of the ergonomic settings have been changed.
* Key staff (with a lot of clout, formal or informal) stake out ‘their’ space (and woe betide you if you occupy it – the ice is palpable).
* People start arriving early to claim the ‘best’ spaces.
* Anxiety levels (where will I work, am I going to be ‘stuck’ under the freezing air con) start to rise.
* Staff start leaving ‘stuff’ on their favoured desk (oh, I was just in the middle of this, and it didn’t seem worthwhile packing it away when I’m here tomorrow)
* Teams stake out ‘their’ space. A subtle hierarchy of relative status in the organization is established.
* Groups working together (a goal, remember) get the message that ‘chat’ isn’t OK (some of us are trying to work here!) – and start occupying larger meeting rooms.
* Management (who are not open plan) ‘don’t see what the issue is’
I have had hot-desking work. But only in the environment when a couple of people are sharing a workstation – and trade off with each other. (We actually have 2 teams doing this right now)
Apart from that, I’ve only seen it really working in spaces where people are mostly out of office (e.g. sales staff), and just need a space to work a day a fortnight when they’re actually in the office for meetings.
bj said: “Fascinating qualitative data. You are describing industries where people worked out of the office before the pandemic, I think?”
Yes. Entirely office based pre-pandemic. Entirely remote during our lockdowns in 2020.
NB: Productivity in some areas of the company rose significantly. Not sure if this was environment (able to get more done without interruptions), or good will (people responding to the ‘trust’ shown them), or people putting in a little more time/effort since there was no commute). Expect that a mix of all of these was a factor.
Company issued an ‘expectation’ that staff would move to being full-time in the office in January (announcement in November), with a strongly worded push for staff to start transitioning now, unless a health exemption negotiated with HR. [This was widely perceived as a fig-leaf – there was no expectation that anyone would be able to negotiate an exemption]
It’s gone through the industry as a classic ‘how not to’ example of staff management.
I *suspect* (though I have no knowledge), that some staff were under-performing when working remotely. And management thought this was the ‘easiest’ way of dealing with the issue.
The age split is really interesting. When we were ‘allowed’ to opt for working in the office (during lockdown, our building was closed), there were 2 groups of people who took it up. The young (20s-early 30s) – more likely to be flatting or have very young children at home; and the elderly (I have one part-time staff member who is over 80) – more likely to not want the bother of setting up and maintaining the required IT networks, and enjoying the camaraderie of a workspace.
Wow, that was vivid!
That reminds me of a story Megan McArdle has of a company that got cheap with regard to office supplies and the cascading chaos that it caused.
Expedia has an online scheming syste, so physical musical chairs or saving seats can’t happen. But I do wonder what you describe plays out online. Making a resource apparently scarce and unpredictable brings out terrible behavior.
Also, the office game of musical chairs, results in about 30 minutes lost from the working day: 15 minutes at the beginning (finding where you’re sitting, getting your locker, plugging in your laptop (and any associated peripherals), adjusting everything ergonomically, etc.; and then reversing it all at the end of the day.
As opposed to arriving, switching on your PC, sitting down and starting work.
Love the pen scenario!
Terry Pratchett had a riff on this in Hogfather, where the staff at Unseen University had to produce a pencil stub, before they were allowed a new pencil.
“Like most people with no grasp whatsoever of real economics, Mustrum Ridcully equated “proper financial control” with the counting of paper clips. Even senior wizards had to produce a pencil stub to him before they were allowed a new one out of the locked cupboard below his desk. Since of course hardly anyone retained a half-used pencil, the wizards had been reduced to sneaking out and buying new ones with their own money. ”
View at Medium.com
Stefan Baral (MD MPH), Vinay Prasad (MD MPH) and Wesley Pegden (a math professor at Carnegie Mellon) argue against mass COVID vaccination of young children under an Emergency Use Authorization. Here are some of their arguments:
“Trials for COVID-19 vaccines are also underway for children as young as 6 months. These trials are not powered to measure decreases in severe COVID-19 infections, due to their rarity. Instead, these trials are examining safety, the immune response, and, as a secondary outcome, the impact on the incidence of COVID-19 infections. As for adults, these trials are not designed to assess rare or delayed adverse events. Unlike for adults, the rarity of severe COVID-19 outcomes for children means that trials cannot demonstrate that the balance of the benefits of vaccination against the potential adverse effects are favorable to the children themselves. In short, given the rarity of severe clinical courses and limited clarity of risks, the criteria for Emergency Use Authorization do not appear to be met for children.”
Note that it wasn’t known until Johnson & Johnson was taken by millions that there were blood clotting issues.
“In the near-term, EUA’s should be considered for children at genuinely high risk of serious complications from infection. It is also worth considering whether emergency use could be authorized for children whom especially concerned caregivers are sheltering from school or social interactions. The small risk posed to children by COVID-19 does not merit restrictions on any normal child activities in a context where adults are protected by vaccines, but individual children who find their lives curtailed in this way may obtain significant benefits from vaccination.”
The authors point out that the ill-fated 1976 swine flu vaccination drive, in which hundreds of adverse events combined with a less dangerous flu year, cast a shadow over flu vaccination. Adverse events involving children and COVID vaccine could increase vaccine hesitancy.
“Controversy surrounding mass child vaccination under EUA’s could feed vaccine hesitancy in the United States at a time when public attitudes towards vaccination are critical. A wide rollout of child COVID-19 vaccines should follow the standard regulatory process as for most children, unlike adults, COVID-19 vaccination is not addressing an emergency.”
Pfizer is applying for full authorization for 16+ (still only emergency authorization for 12-16 year olds).
In blue states, the willingness of parents to vaccinate their children is going to play a role in school reopening and that matters to me (maybe not the defining role, but a role). But if Pfizer gets full authorization, requiring adults to be vaccinating will be more plausible.
Whether we’ll need to push to vaccinate larger parts of the population (including children) depends on whether we get enough people vaccinated that rates start to fall. As your authors state, children in environments where most adults are vaccinating might not need to be vaccinated. But, if adults don’t get the vaccine, and we don’t suppress the virus, that won’t be as true.
Our local MLB team is acting on the Governor’s permission (to allow more spectators if they are vaccinated) and talking about setting up a vaccinated section in their stadium. They also promised discounted tickets and food discounts. I joked that we should go (I don’t normally watch sports), purely to stand with the vaxers (once we are fully vaccinated).
bj said, ” But if Pfizer gets full authorization, requiring adults to be vaccinating will be more plausible.”
I’m on board if it’s healthcare workers or nursing home workers or anybody who works closely with vulnerable populations, but beyond that? There are some deep blue states that are going to be OK with a lot of coercion and arm-twisting aimed at the general population (I’m thinking probably WA/Oregon and the much of the tip of the NE), but I don’t think that is going to fly in places like, say, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Michigan, Georgia or Colorado. Heck, I wonder if it will fly in California or Maine.
There’s a mid-term election coming in 2022, and Republicans will club Democrats with this issue if Democrats are too heavy-handed or if restrictions don’t get lifted fast enough. (I will LEVITATE with rage this fall if I have to wear a mask on a plane to the West Coast for Thanksgiving when my teens and I are all vaccinated.)
I’m totally OK with offering one-time $500 incentives to nursing home workers to get vaccinated and I think that that should have happened a long time ago.
“But, if adults don’t get the vaccine, and we don’t suppress the virus, that won’t be as true.”
It’s not the best way to do it, but immunity from disease works, too. One way or another, it eventually gets suppressed.
“Our local MLB team is acting on the Governor’s permission (to allow more spectators if they are vaccinated) and talking about setting up a vaccinated section in their stadium.”
Somebody was noting that based on descriptions of some stadiums, the unvaccinated section would be comfier, with lots of room to spread out.
“ It’s not the best way to do it, but immunity from disease works, too. One way or another, it eventually gets suppressed.”
I think the details are complicated. The more virus there is, the more variants get released.
Measles, in the US, is an example of suppression, at .5/1000000. I don’t know how measles would play out without the vaccine
That was to talk about how vaccines will interact with what people will be allowed to do.
bj said, “That was to talk about how vaccines will interact with what people will be allowed to do.”
Yeah, it gets sticky once you are dealing with interstate or international travel, as you are with cruise ships. Skipping Florida ports is going to be a heck of a blow to the cruise lines–I wonder who is going to blink first. Whether or not an Alaska cruise summer 2021 season will happen is also still an open question:
I’m curious when the federal interstate travel masking requirement is going to be dropped, especially the one for little kids.
I don’t *think* that Florida state law can require international (or out of state, for that matter) companies to comply with it.
The cruse line will be incorporated in Norway (or possibly in some other tax-friendly haven) – even though it’s (according to the article) headquartered in Florida.
And if you are embarking on an overseas trip (requiring a passport so out of US waters) I’d think the relevant legislation would be federal, not state.
I suspect that the countries the cruise ship is visiting in the Caribbean will require vaccination for landing. And there’s nothing Florida can do about that. I guess you could make a case that you just wanted to cruise (not land anywhere).
Of course, it begs the question of *how* you will be able to certify that you have been vaccinated. And how easy that vaccination certification is to forge. I’m still a fan of having it on your passport.
There was a not-so-subtle threat from the CEO of the cruise company – that they could find other ports….
Ann said, “There was a not-so-subtle threat from the CEO of the cruise company – that they could find other ports….”
But which US ports would be convenient for Caribbean itineraries?
Among US states, Florida does have somewhat unique advantages as a jumping-off point for the Caribbean.
But, see: https://www.statnews.com/2021/02/23/federal-law-prohibits-employers-and-others-from-requiring-vaccination-with-a-covid-19-vaccine-distributed-under-an-eua/
This means that an organization will likely be at odds with federal law if it requires its employees, students or other members to get a Covid-19 vaccine that is being distributed under emergency use authorization.
State law often prohibits retaliating against an employee for refusing to participate in a violation of federal law. Organizations that require Covid-19 vaccination in violation of federal law may face lawsuits under these state laws not only to block the policy but also for damages and attorneys’ fees. Such potentially costly lawsuits can be avoided by refraining from adopting policies that require vaccination or penalize members for choosing not to be vaccinated.
So, it is not necessarily legal under federal law for a business to require employees or others to be vaccinate with a vaccine that has not yet been approved.
It then, I suppose, becomes a standoff, where cruise lines are caught between countries that are requiring vaccination for travel and countries that refuse to allow their citizens to be required to be vaccinated. Or submit proof of vaccination, which I think is practically useless, as it is reported that people like bar owners are selling fake vaccination paper. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-05-06/bar-owner-charged-with-selling-fake-covid-19-vaccine-cards
Certainly cruise ship owners want to avoid the Flying Dutchman scenarios that popped up last year. On the other hand, where do they propose to pick up passengers? The industry relies on airports. 8 of the top 20 US airports (5 of the top 10) are in Florida: https://simpleflying.com/us-airport-post-pandemic-capacity/
If you check out that list of US airports, do note that only three of the airports outside of Florida are anywhere near the coast: Kahului (Hawaii), Panama City (Panama), and Myrtle Beach.
Do I think tourists from the US East coast will be willing to fly to Panama or Hawaii to cruise the Caribbean? Bwahaha. So Myrtle Beach it would be. Except, there is a bill in South Carolina to ban requiring the vaccine: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess124_2021-2022/bills/3511.htm
So, sure, the cruise lines could change their bases, but I don’t know where they could go within a reasonable time frame. That’s if people are willing to go on cruises again.
Cranberry said, “The industry relies on airports. 8 of the top 20 US airports (5 of the top 10) are in Florida.”
“Do I think tourists from the US East coast will be willing to fly to Panama or Hawaii to cruise the Caribbean? Bwahaha. So Myrtle Beach it would be. Except, there is a bill in South Carolina to ban requiring the vaccine.”
Yeah, geography suggests that US states that are convenient ports for the Caribbean are also generally unfriendly to vaccine requirements.
There’s still the question of what happens when the various non-US Caribbean islands require vaccine proof and Florida/etc. requires not requiring proof. I wonder how the US Virgin Islands feel about this stuff…
This is all a microcosm of the fact that at least half the country (and probably more like 2/3) is not going to get onboard with strict COVID regulations going forward. We’ve been running this by state executive fiat for over a year now, and at some point, the normal democratic processes click on again, and COVID restrictions policies have to face the legislatures and the voters. This has already started to happen in places like Michigan–Gov. Whitmer had just about no levers available to her during the last surge. The age of the governor-as-dictator-who-answers-to-nobody is just about over.
Regarding requiring vaccinations under EUA, here’s an alternate take that discusses a sentence in the law that authorizes emergency use: https://www.statnews.com/2021/04/05/authorization-status-covid-19-vaccine-red-herring-mandating-vaccination/
The analysis above argues that the EUA language might prevent the federal government from mandating the vaccine, but not state or private businesses (and, as its been pointed out before, employment in the US is at will except for protected classes anyway).
I’ve also read an analysis that suggests that “consequences” in the emergency use application could be used to mean a consequence in the form of loosing one’s job.
But, also, Pfizer is applying for regular authorization. I don’t know how long that will take, but it could mean that Pfizer will be available under regular authorization: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/05/07/994839927/pfizer-seeks-full-fda-approval-for-covid-19-vaccine
Presumably, if the Norwegian didn’t use Florida ports for the Caribbean, people would fly to the Caribbean to tour the Caribbean. Also, Seattle/Tacoma’s airport is plenty near a coast and in 2018, a million people traveled through the Seattle cruise terminal.
Mind you the way I imagine this issue being resolved is for Norwegian to say they are requiring passengers to be vaccinated and that the Florida governor doesn’t have authority to prevent them and for the Governor to quietly, without admitting anything, do nothing.
BTW, Norwegian cruise line, though founded by a Norwegian, doesn’t have anything to do with Norway now; I think the Caribbean ships are Bahamian flagged, except for the Pride of America (which cruises the Hawaiian islands).
bj said, “Also, Seattle/Tacoma’s airport is plenty near a coast and in 2018, a million people traveled through the Seattle cruise terminal.”
It’s kind of a different experience, though…
“Mind you the way I imagine this issue being resolved is for Norwegian to say they are requiring passengers to be vaccinated and that the Florida governor doesn’t have authority to prevent them and for the Governor to quietly, without admitting anything, do nothing.”
In terms of passengers, yeah, I think it would be very easy for the cruise lines to just make people submit proof of vaccination as part of their preliminary paperwork.
But then the question remains…what is proof of vaccination?
By the way, I wanted to mention that I’m starting to see some trial balloons on the subject of dropping indoor masking requirements.
Scott Gottlieb (former FDA commissioner and current Pfizer board member), who is a pretty middle-of-the road, establishment guy, has mentioned it as something that should happen soon. I was so surprised by the twitter summary that I listened to the video (maybe he meant outdoor and just misspoke?) but yes, he was talking about dropping indoor masking requirements, assuming case loads and vaccination rates make that reasonable.
He thinks it’s important to rapidly relax restrictions to preserve public health credibility. (One bad lesson from the past year is that a lot of states are willing to do virtually unlimited restrictions, and that you can’t trust them if they say that it’s just for two weeks, just to bend the curve, just for 100 days, etc. In many states, it’s been a lot easier to shut down the schools than to resuscitate them.)
It would be interesting to know if Gottlieb had a different view on airplanes and cruise ships.
Good results from a free-beer-with-shot clinic:
“Saturday was the first day that Erie County worked with a local microbrewery to host its Shot and a Chaser program, offering individuals who got their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Resurgence Brewing Company a free pint glass and coupon for the vaccinated person’s drink of choice.
“Under normal circumstances, it would be beyond strange for a brewery to host a vaccination clinic in the shadow of 1,000-gallon fermentation tanks, with a brick wall separating a bustling bar service from health care professionals handling syringes filled with the Moderna vaccine. But these are not normal times.”
“”We’re going to do more people today at our first-dose clinics than most of our first-dose clinics in the last week combined,” Poloncarz said.”
“That’s not a very high bar, given that many of the county’s first-dose clinics have had less than two dozen people show up. At one site, only one person showed up, Poloncarz said. Comparatively, more than 100 people had been vaccinated at Resurgence by mid-afternoon, including some walk-ups and restaurant patrons who decided to get the vaccine at the spur of the moment.”
I would say that it is a very good idea to get a Covid-19 vaccine, even if you’re young and healthy, and feel invincible.
I have been reading more and more reports of things like Long Covid. Now, news is coming out that Covid-19 might cause diabetes. CAUSE. https://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/is-covid-19-causing-a-diabetes-epidemic-680619/
Francesco Rubino, a diabetes surgery professor at King’s College London, is convinced there is a connection between the two conditions and has been tracking and studying the phenomenon since early last year. “We really need to dig deeper, but it sounds like we do have a real problem with COVID and diabetes.”
Additionally, Rubino thinks the type of diabetes being developed as a result of COVID-19 may be a hybrid form, something of a cross between type 1 and type 2. His findings show that the symptoms in these patients have some characteristics of each form of diabetes, which he finds concerning.
Researchers are also now seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes diagnoses in children who have had asymptomatic COVID-19, which is even more troubling, as many schools are back in session, many public places do not require masks on children, and the tipping point of a diabetes epidemic may rest solely on the shoulders of our youngest, most vulnerable citizens.
(I added the emphasis.)
This is the link to the New England Journal of Medicine letter: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2018688
If this is true, I predict we will soon see lawsuits from parents enraged that their children were not allowed to be vaccinated, thus opening them up to developing diabetes.
We just got news from a friend in Germany that high blood sugar just showed up on their late-20’s, athletic, healthy son’s routine physical. So it’s at the top of my mind today.
“If this is true, I predict we will soon see lawsuits from parents enraged that their children were not allowed to be vaccinated, thus opening them up to developing diabetes.”
Who, exactly, would they sue? This is such an unlikely cause of action. They’re going to sue the FDA (it’s pretty much only possible to sue the federal government when statutes have given permission to do so) for not having approved a vaccine for which no approval request has been filed? Or suing Moderna for not having done sufficient testing on children to show that their vaccine is safe or effective?
I haven’t noticed logic being a defining characteristic of parent lawsuits, when they think their children have been injured. They can’t sue vaccine makers for defects, but what if they believe the lack of an approval for child vaccination led to their children developing diabetes, or other auto-immune conditions?
It would require moving away from the belief that vaccines are harmful, which is so prevalent on the internet.
Children are already receiving vaccines in clinical trials. It’s now possible for parents of 12-15 year olds to preregister them for vaccination in Kentucky: https://www.wave3.com/2021/05/07/preregistration-opens-children-receive-covid-vaccine/
Note that the mother interviewed in the article blames Covid for her 7 year old son’s MIS-C.
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