“The task ahead is simply not possible to complete while simultaneously ensuring a safe and secure learning environment,” the letter reads in part. “A more realistic and progressive approach would instead welcome students for in-person learning towards the end of September, after a completely distant start to the year.
A spokesperson for the UFT, representing teachers at the city’s public schools, said the union also believes the city’s DOE should delay reopening school buildings.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Teachers’ Federation, issued the following statement:
“The UFT has repeatedly said that we cannot reopen schools unless they are safe for students and staff. The principals’ union – whose members will be responsible for enforcing coronavirus safety protocols in schools – now estimates that school buildings will not be ready to open in September. We need both safety and sanity in this crisis. Will parents be willing to place their children in a school whose principal believes the building is not ready to open because it is unsafe? ”
On Thursday morning, in the hope of allaying some fears, the mayor of Blasio announced that every public school building would have a certified nurse on staff, ready for the first day of school.
“Health + Hospitals came to the rescue here,” the mayor said. “They hire them and put them in schools. ”
He added that H + H will set up the contract nurses and they will do so on the first day of school.
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After visiting a socially remote high school in Far Rockaway, Queens on Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said “we have a whole month” and “this ball game is far from over”.
He added of his visit on Thursday that the reopening is, “… about dedication to children, to our children, to what they need and that we need to help them through this crisis and beyond. ”
The mayor said that the principal of this school, Doris Lee, had told him: “I feel like my children need me, and if there is a possibility to open safely, I want benefit. ”
De Blasio and Carranza observed how the guards will use electrostatic sprayers every night and where children wearing masks will sit in socially remote rooms.
The mayor rejected the postponement of the start of the school year and said the city’s infection rate was among the lowest in the country, which he said allows safe schools to be opened with these. changes – and a strict policy to shut it down again in the event of an infection. the rate goes up.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education issued the following statement:
“We have involved our union partners every day and discussed the details of the policy for weeks, including the first day of school. The ASC and UFT know that we will only open our doors if we meet the highest standards set by any school district in the and health and safety protection has always driven our work. together. The vast majority of our students are currently planning blended learning, and we know that our dedicated principals and educators will come forward for them as they do every year. ”
The city’s plan to reopen calls for a mix of in-person and distance learning, with students taking turns in classrooms when they return in the fall, but more than a quarter of students have decided to opt for the fully remote option.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that 74%, or more than 700,000 students, would take part in the city’s blended learning plan. 26% of students will participate in digital distance learning only. He said that dovetailed with the survey families took earlier this summer.
About 15% of teachers have applied to be a distance teacher and the city is working hard to approve them. The others will participate in the blended learning plan in person.
“Students will learn five days a week, no matter where they are,” New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said.
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New York City submitted a 109-page reopening plan to the state on Friday night. Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the additional submission on Monday and said it was under review.
But will the state approve the plan for 1,800 schools?
The plan provides for random temperature checks for students and teachers and a 14-day quarantine for anyone who tests positive.
The plan has seemed hugely ambitious as other large school systems have given up on in-person instruction in recent weeks. Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston, among others, have all announced that they will begin the school year with distance learning students.
Students and families will learn what the timetable for their blended learning plan will be starting next Monday, August 17, and Chancellor Carranza said everyone will have their schedule the following week, August 24.
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And while Governor Cuomo has said that all schools can safely conduct in-person lessons, some teachers are concerned about poor ventilation. Some buildings do not have HVAC systems and there are concerns that the virus could easily spread in these confined spaces.
Chancellor Carranza said classrooms deemed inadequate would not be used. Mayor Bill de Blasio also said classrooms will have their windows open for ventilation whenever possible.
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“We’re going to be like hawks when it comes to the numbers and if the positivity rate numbers start to rise and if they hit 3%, we’ll learn from a distance for the whole system.” New York has had real problems with distance learning. They struggled to get all the kids to iPads and the Internet, ”said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Regarding the distance learning aspect of the plan, the city bought 321,000 iPads equipped with T-mobile data that don’t require Wi-Fi.
At least one council member has asked why the city isn’t buying cheaper, fully-functional laptops instead. A teacher told Eyewitness News that he found the software and online digital learning programs difficult to use.
“We have learned a lot since March,” Chancellor Carranza said. “Teachers have multiple possibilities to use different platforms. He pointed to a “Teach Hub” on the city’s DOE website.
Schools First Vice Chancellor Donald Conyers said the city “works with distance learning champions with the city’s borough offices and sends them out, so if a school has a problem , we will be able to appeal to the school and provide support. . ”
More than a million New York public school students had their last day of classroom instruction on March 13, as waves of sick people began to hit city hospitals. All schools in the state were closed on March 18.
The epidemic, while reduced, is not over in New York. About 10,000 New Yorkers tested positive for the virus in July.
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