Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the reopening of in-person learning for most grades in New York City public schools will be delayed again.
In-person learning for blended learning students will be phased in across the next two weeks as follows:
• Monday, Sept. 21: blended learning for students in 3-K and Pre-K as well as all grades in District 75.
• Tuesday, Sept. 29: Blended learning for students in K-5 and K-8 schools.
• Thursday, Oct. 1: Blended learning for students in middle schools, high schools, secondary schools spanning grades 6-12 and transfer schools/adult education.
“For months, teachers, principals and school staff have been working hard to make sure our students have the education they deserve while putting health and safety first,” said de Blasio. “Today, we are announcing the latest in our larger plan to reopen schools the right way and give working class families the in-person education they’ve asked us to deliver.”
Schools will not reopen if the citywide COVID-19 infection rate exceeds three percent. It is currently 0.63 percent.
“Our buildings must be ready, and testing and tracing procedures must be in place,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “A phased reopening — and making sure, despite budget challenges, that we have enough staff — can help ensure that safety.”
According to the NYC Department of Education, 42 percent of students are engaged in remote learning, which began Sept. 16.
This is the second time in-class learning has been delayed. The mayor didn’t guarantee that there won’t be another delay.
Local elected officials were miffed that the announcement was made so close to the date all kids were supposed to return to the classroom.
“This entire school reopening process has been an unmitigated disaster and I cannot begin to imagine the stress these announcements are putting on parents, teachers and children,” said U.S. Rep. Max Rose.
“The state gives [the mayor] billions annually for education and yet he answers to no one,” said Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis. “Catholic and private schools are underway but the public school reopening has been one big debacle … no discussion, no input, no notification. Teachers, parents, principals and elected officials find out the goalposts have moved again in an 11th hour announcement on TV.”
“If it wasn’t clear before that they are not up to the job, it certainly is now,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “A failure as great as this should be criminal.”
“It has been enormously clear to all of us that we needed a real plan, and we needed it communicated early,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “Instead, the mayor is driving everyone insane by governing in fits and starts while obsessed with the actual ‘first day’ of school, which is really just an arbitrary, self-imposed deadline in the first place.”