School buses ready for NYC students, teachers' classroom concerns remain

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there will be 100,000 school bus seats available for New York City students by the first day of school on September 21, but teachers' concerns over the safety of classrooms remain an issue.

The mayor said students and adults on board buses will be required to wear masks, social distancing will be enforced, windows on the buses will be opened, and the buses will undergo a nightly cleaning.

Bus companies will be provided personal protective equipment, and every bus garage will have electrostatic sprayers and some 300,000 masks available.

Family notifications of bus service began on Wednesday, and all families will be notified by the end of the week.

The city said they needed less than the normal 140,000 seats due to the fact that schools are operating in a Blended Learning format and that approximately two out of every five students will be learning remotely.

Meantime, there continues to be serious concern about all school buildings being prepared and safe for the first day of class, and the United Federation of Teachers was again showing that not all schools are ready.

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On Wednesday, they focused on District 75 in Brooklyn, a special needs district, where they found bathrooms were dirty and the supply of masks and PPE was not adequate.

They also had serious questions about ventilation.

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The UFT said when their teachers complained to the Department of Education Tuesday, they were supposedly told that prepping buildings wasn't their job.

"One of the things that we're going through right now as a school system in a pandemic is that the bureaucratic response of 'not my job' is unacceptable, and if you say it, you should leave your job," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. "This is all hands on deck to prepare every school so that it is safe."

De Blasio said it's been corrected.

"That should have honestly been caught, but there was a specific reality about them that are in some state-owned facilities," he said. "And once the mistake was realized, they've been resupplied today with the PPE. It's very easy with the amount of PPE we have on hand to get a school supplied immediately. So there was a handful of schools missed, there's no question about that. That's being fixed right now."

The number of children who will be in the classroom come September 21 is slowly declining.

Wednesday morning, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said 61% will be in Blended Learning, meaning some of the time they'll be in a classroom. He said 39% of students will be remote learning only from home.

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