NYC mayor ‘very confident’ in new school reopening timeline
Mayor Bill de Blasio is confident that New York City will meet a revised timeline to bring public school students back to classrooms within the next two weeks, following closures because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said Friday.
“I feel very confident about that date,” de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
De Blasio on Thursday delayed the reopening plan for the nation’s largest school district for the second time since it was announced in July, citing a shortage of staff and supplies.
Unions representing the city’s teachers said it wouldn’t have been safe to open all the school sites next week.
Under the revised timeline, most elementary school students will return to in-person learning starting Sept. 29, while middle and high school students will do the same Oct. 1.
De Blasio told aggrieved parents calling into his weekly public radio appearance that restarting in-person learning was “a greater challenge than anyone foresaw.”
De Blasio told MSNBC that he needs “the health care situation to cooperate” to make the schools plan work but that he was confident because of how well New York has fought to keep the virus at bay, such as through social distancing and wearing of masks.
Unions had pressed for more staff, as well as additional protective equipment and other supplies to protect against the virus. De Blasio promised Thursday to hire 2,500 more teachers in addition to the 2,000 additional teachers he had previously announced.
He told MSNBC the city will use substitute teachers, student teachers and adjunct professors from the city university system to fill staffing needs.
New York City is planning for the majority of its more than 1 million public school students to be in the classroom one to three days a week and learning remotely the rest of the time. Early childhood education and special education students will return to in-person learning next week, de Blasio said.
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By now, there’s probably no person who voted for Bill who doesn’t regret it … and it’s equally safe to say that his detractors – people who looked at his oh so thin accomplishments over a life in politics and a few monstrous examples of his self-dealing and cravenness – felt (however ruefully) vindicated in their scorn for him.
But what gets me is that even now, he sits down with a couple of union heads, and they “agree” that no teacher should teach both live classes and remote classes, and that clearly means that the school opening and FUNCTIONING will be thoroughly ragged.
At a time when the school budget (and the City and State budget) has been reduced dramatically – I’ve heard the number $3 Billion re NYC schools alone!!, and that’s a big number, even now – somehow the City and the UFT (the latter, no doubt, gleefully) decide that while the students CAN HANDLE a “hybrid model,” tens of thousands of adults are not equally adaptive.
If we had a school system where there were lots of accomplishments to point to (IN THE LAST 50 years, at a minimum), maybe throwing even more money at the system in these difficult times might make sense…. But there are no such accomplishments. As I say, the money faucet is barely dripping at this point. The State Legislature will not OK borrowing by NYC, given its joke of a Mayor. Sanitation, homelessness, etc. threaten to cause a huge exodus of New Yorkers with money and businesses. Yes, relocating has its complications, but when you witness the Mayor and the relatively small number who have benefited as he’s fumbled ball after ball, that’s likely to make many of them bite the bullet.