City Hopes Students’ Thirst for Knowledge Supercedes Impulse for Fun

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Shockingly, these children have chosen not to complete the Department of Education's worksheets. Photo: nytimes.com

Though more and more schools are being shut down by swine flu, and others are being decimated by voluntary absences, the Department of Education is striving to continue educating the city's children, whether they're in an actual school or not. "Even though your school is closed, you can use this time to continue learning," reads an unintentionally hilarious suggestion in a Department of Education document posted online for students affected by swine-flu closures. It outlines the many ways children can keep their minds sharp if, say, they have a genetic disease like those kids in The Hours The Others that prevents them from enjoying sunny 80 degree weather. There's even a day-by-day curriculum, complete with reading passages and worksheets.

Not surprisingly, hardly anyone is choosing to complete these exceedingly optional assignments. Instead, many of them are simply spending their days in other densely populated areas. “My mom told me not to go out,” one 14-year-old told the Times as she exchanged pathogens with other shoppers in the Queens Center Mall. “Too bad she’s at work and can’t see me.” Uh, yeah, but then you got yourself quoted in the Times talking about it, which kind of blows your cover. At least that's one lesson she'll learn today.

Flu Closings Failing to Keep Schoolchildren at Home [NYT]