NYC remote option for schools now possible, Mayor Adams says

Mayor Eric Adams has been clear that he felt very strongly about keeping public schools open despite the surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. But on Thursday, the mayor said he is now considering a temporary remote option for classes. 

"We do have to be honest that there's a substantial number of children, for whatever reason, parents are not bringing them to school," Adams said at a news conference. "I have to make sure children are educated."

The mayor reiterated that he still believes the safest place for children to be is in school.

Tens of thousands of students have been no-shows since classes resumed earlier this month. More than 100 schools reported attendance of less than 60%, and more than 50 reported less than half of all students attending class Wednesday.

"I'm willing to sit down and entertain with the UFT if there is a way to do a temporary remote option," Adams said, referring to the United Federation of Teachers. 

UFT President Michael Mulgrew appeared on Good Day New York on Thursday to say that the union was in talks with the Adams administration.

"I believe we need to do this. I think Mayor Adams is really thinking this through," Mulgrew said. "Because it's a fact… over 200,000 children who have not been in school for two weeks." (Continues)

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Schools Chancellor Dave Banks appeared at the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council Meeting where he told members that pressure has been mounting to consider a remote option.

"I am completely open about having a remote option — there is no reservation from me at all," Banks said. "If I could figure out a remote option starting tomorrow I would. It's not as simple as that because you have to negotiate this with the union."

Chalkbeat New York reporter Alex Zimmerman said the biggest challenge Adams and the UFT will face is agreeing on what remote learning would look like.

"One of the biggest disagreements that Banks highlighted was whether teachers should be required to livestream their classes," Zimmerman said. "If they can't reach some agreement with the UFT on how that would look, it still might not happen."

With The Associated Press.