City Council members want to delay in-person learning at NYC schools

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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Several New York City Council members are now calling for a delay in reopening public schools in the city.

The council members took part in a virtual meeting Friday along with members of the teachers union and other education advocates.

They want to postpone in-person teaching until they say adequate funding and resources are identified to safely reopen schools, and they're also questioning the city's plan to put a nurse in every school building.

"The bottom line at this hour is that the city of New York does not have the money and the time to safely reopen schools in my view on Aeptember 10," City Council member Mark Treyger said. "And so I think the mayor needs to look himself in the mirror and ask himself if he is being professional and is he being honest before he lectures anyone about being professional in the city of New York."

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New York City schools are scheduled to reopen for in-class learning next month. City officials are expected to release operational plans for 1,800 individual public schools across the district.

"By the infection rate, all schools can open," Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday. "Can. They have the ability. That does not mean they must open. The parents and teachers must open. Can open doesn't mean they must open. They can open if they are safe."

Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement about certified nurses on Thursday, saying every single public school building would have a certified nurse on staff, ready for the first day of school.

"Health + Hospitals came to the rescue here," the mayor said. "They are hiring them and placing them in the schools."

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Earlier this week, the union representing public school principals and other administrators wrote a letter to de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza asking for the delay past September 10 for 1.1 million public school students.

In the letter, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators said they still do not have sufficient answers to many concerns and teachers having less than 15 working days to prepare is not enough.

"The task before them is simply not possible to complete while simultaneously providing assurances of a safe and secure learning environment," the letter read, in part. "A more realistic, phased-in approach would instead welcome students for in-person learning toward the end of September, following a fully remote start to the year."

A spokesperson for the UFT, representing the city's public school teachers, says the union also believes the city DOE should delay the re-opening of school buildings.
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"The UFT has said repeatedly that we cannot re-open schools unless they are safe for students and staff," UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. "The principals union, whose members will be responsible for enforcing coronavirus safety protocols in the schools, now believes that school buildings will not be ready to open in September. We need both safety and sanity in this crisis. Will any parents be willing to put their children in a school whose principal believes the building is not ready to open because it is not safe?"

The city's re-opening plan calls for a mix of in-person and remote learning with students taking turns in classrooms when they return in the fall, but more than a quarter of students have decided to go with the all-remote option instead.

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