From NYC to Hudson Valley, public, Catholic schools lay out reopening plans with concerns

Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to give New York City parents peace of mind as the time frame to decide on their children's education is closing in on them.

“I would send my kids without hesitation to a New York City Public School," said de Blasio during a news conference Tuesday. 

In three weeks the mayor hopes to reopen the nation's largest school system on a part-time basis, but pressure is mounting from teachers, principals, nurses, and even members of his own administration to delay the start of in person learn and give educators more time to prepare. 

City Councilmember Mark Treyger, who is the chair of the council's Education Committee says Mayor de Blasio is making promises he can't keep. "Parents are asking all the right questions," said Treyger. "They're asking about safety, they're asking about will there be supplies to disinfect and clean buildings every day, they're asking whether there will be a nurse in the building every day. Principals don't have an answer because no one's giving principals an answer."

So far, about 30 percent of the city's families have opted out of de Blasio's 'Blended Learning' plan and will start the year remotely. But with no deadline to opt out, that number could change significantly before September 10, making it all but impossible for educators to plan their class schedules. 

There are also concerns about having the proper cleaning supplies. The mayor has assured principals they will have everything they need, but Treyger notes, "the city is financially broke."


Meantime, the Diocese of Brooklyn says the vast majority of its 66 schools will start the year with full-time in-person education. Safety measures, like regular temperature checks and a mask mandate, will be in place.

Most school districts in the Hudson Valley mirror New York City's hybrid learning. Despite safety measures like mandatory masks, social distancing and limiting class size, some educators say they need more time to prepare. 

The Lakeland Federation of Teachers wrote an open letter detailing their concerns Tuesday, and more than half of the union leaders representing districts across the Hudson Valley signed it.

“At the end of the day, with the resources that the districts have available to them, the best that we’re going to be able to do is make the building safer, we’re not really going to be able to make them safe,” says Michael Lillis, President of the Lakeland Federation of Teachers.

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