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Know Your Rights
Source: The New York Times
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Chronicling the First Day Back to School

Doors will officially open on Wednesday at the city’s 1,500 schools, and more
than one million students will begin their annual retreat from swimming pools
and daytime television to a stiff regimen of math and English classes.

For some, it will be a day of discovery: the first snack break, the first
locker assignment or a long-sought opportunity for an immigrant to learn
English. Others will return to more familiar environs, though with some
summertime changes: a science lab reborn as a classroom to relieve overcrowding,
a teacher cut here and there to balance the budget, a crop of new small schools
where a low-performing behemoth used to stand.

This back-to-school season, there are jitters in the air: most notably, the
question of how devastating the return of the pesky H1N1 virus known as swine
flu will be.

Schools will take precautions, but unlike last spring, they have been
instructed not to close their doors in hopes of stopping the spread of the
virus. And in a time of steep economic cutbacks, large numbers of sick children
could create headaches for parents who cannot afford to leave work to take care
of them. According to the Community Service Society, 61 percent of public school
parents received paid sick leave** in 2008; among low-income parents, the number
was 40 percent.

On Wednesday, City Room will chronicle the frenzy, the nerves, the delight —
not to mention the kinks — of New York City’s first day of school. But we’d like
you to lend us your eyes as well. Parents, teachers, students, neighbors: post
comments here with your opening day observations, anecdotes and grumbles. If a
photo captures the moment better, submit it here.

And be sure to check back here for real-time coverage shortly after the first
bell. Don’t be late.

**Make the Road New York is a key supporter of a bill in NYC that would require employers to give their employees between five and nine paid sick days per year.