Reopen News: Mayor de Blasio outlines NYC schools reopening plan amid President Trump's pushback

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The future of New York City schools remains uncertain with the mayor saying public schools will reopen in the fall, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says the decision is his to make, while President Trump is also weighing in.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza unveiled their "Blended Learning" plan for the city's 1.1 million school children.

De Blasio says that he believes this plan will preserve "health and safety while maintaining an understanding that the best way to educate our kids is in the classroom."

"We're going to move forward according to the data, according to the state of New York," he said.
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Mayor de Blasio announced the city's plan for schools in the fall.


He also warned that the situation could change along the way.

The mayor noted that most schools will not be able to have all of their kids in school at the same time. Classrooms will be limited to about nine to 12 students, with a dozen being the maximum. That's instead of the average class size of 30 students.

Blended Learning
- Students learning 5 days a week
- Mix of in-person and remote learning
- Most students in school 2 or 3 days a week
- Ensure safety in every school

Chancellor Carranza said that the plan to bring students back into school buildings requires the use of PPE and social distancing.

PPE and Hygiene
- Face coverings required for students and staff
- Nightly deep cleaning, cleaning throughout the day
- Staff training

Social Distancing
- Fewer students in each classroom
- Use of large spaces for classes like cafeterias, auditoriums and gyms
- Updated entry, exit and hallway layout to reduce contact
- Working with SCA, community partners to identify non-DOE space
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Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza explains the "Blended Learning" approach.


Carranza said that there are three models that they unveiled to the city's principals on Wednesday. The schools will be expected to let parents know their child's schedule in August.

- Schools that can accommodate at least half its student body with social distancing guidelines can educate each student in person two or three days a week. Two school days would be consistent throughout the semester, while two cohorts of students would cycle in and out an alternating day.
- Schools that can accommodate a third of its students can educate each student in person one or two days a week. Three groups of students would attend school just once or twice a week. Those students would have one consistent days in the school weak and one day that changes week to week.
- Students with special needs in schools that already had very small class sizes could return for alternating full weeks or full-time.

The school models are based recommended six feet between students. If that recommendation decreases, the schools could possibly accommodate more students.

Students will also have an "All Remote Learning" option.

Parents will have opportunities throughout the year to transition their child into one of the in-person models should they so choose. Or, if any family wants to switch from the "Blended Learning" to "All Remote Learning" they may do so at any time.

Principals will hold parent meetings in July to discuss individual school plans. There will also be Citywide Family & Student information sessions with the first one set for Thursday, July 16.

Schedule for NYC Schools Restart:

July 8: All principals provided with scheduling options

July 8: School budgets released to principals

July 15: Parent portal opens for families to sign up for fully remote instruction

July 16: First virtual Family Information Session

August 7: Deadline for families to opt for fully-remote instruction and staff to submit medical accommodation

More information on the city's plan can be found at: www.schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020
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Decisions on reopening NY schools will be made during the first week of August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says.


Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the final decision on school reopenings rests with the state. "We will open the schools if it's safe to open the schools," he said.

He said that he expects final guidance by July 13, is asking for districts to have plans by July 31, and that he will make a final decision sometime August 1-7.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the mayor and the governor need to come up with a child care solution for parents who will otherwise be faced with a choice of going to work or taking care of their children.

"The plan outlined by the Mayor and Chancellor to reopen schools this September does little to alleviate parents' concerns about child care for students when they are not physically in school," Johnson said in a statement. "Abbreviated schedules and no afterschool means many parents can't work. Sadly, we know that this will disproportionately hurt women who are too often pushed out of the workforce because they must choose between watching children or working. Not everyone has an understanding, flexible employer and the ad hoc plans released by the Department of Education (DOE) will fuel inequity if child care concerns are not addressed in a meaningful way. I was pleased to hear that day care centers are allowed to open next week for our very young children, but we need a coordinated plan to keep all our children safe and healthy this fall. That is what working families need. The Council will continue to have conversations with the Administration, and I urge the Mayor and Chancellor to come up with innovative solutions to address child care options while prioritizing public health and safety."

UFT President Michael Mulgrew released a statement that said: "Re-opening our schools will be a complex and difficult process, but we are not going to be careless with our students, their families, and our educators."

More information on the city's plan can be found at: www.schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020

Meantime, President Trump has threatened to pull funding from schools that don't fully reopen.



Governor Cuomo responded by saying that the decision to open schools is a state decision.

"School reopenings are a state decision. Period. That is the law, and that is the way we're going to proceed. It's not up to the president of the United States. The president does not have any authority to open schools. We will open the schools if it is safe to open the schools. Everybody wants the schools open," Cuomo said.

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