Concerns over NYC school reopening plan voiced at City Council hearing

Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Concerns over NYC school reopening plan voiced to City Council
Dave Evans has more on the City Council hearing on the school reopening plan.

CITY HALL, Manhattan (WABC) -- New York City school leaders toured classrooms on Wednesday and reviewed COVID protocols as students prepare to return to class.

When school starts in 12 days, there is no remote option and the mayor refuses to budge despite 1,800 new COVID cases in the city every day.

"The evidence is clear: for the benefit of learning and development our babies need to be back in the classroom," said school chancellor Meisha Porter.

Porter testified on Wednesday to the City Council on precautions like nightly sanitizing in every single classroom, requiring masks and three feet of social distancing.

Seven-hundred buildings will offer vaccinations on site and the city will test 10% of students every two weeks.

"I'm particularly concerned about the level of testing which is now set at 10% percent every two weeks, to me that's far too low," said City Council Health Chairman Mark Levine.

There is plenty of worry about school safety this fall. It was obvious from the get-go at City Hall as yelling could be heard from the balcony.

The City Council almost had to clear the chambers after an angry outburst from a few parents who say they simply don't trust what city leaders are saying about school safety.

"There's definitely a lack of trust, there is no trust," one parent said. "The people have lost trust in the city. The people have lost trust in the leadership. People have lost trust in the system."

There was one main overall concern at Wednesday's hearing: why won't the mayor back-track and offer some kind of remote learning option - or at least a slower, phased-in opening instead of all at once in less than two weeks.

"I'm very concerned, I was very concerned last year," said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. "Unfortunately the people who were concerned turned out to be right. I don't want to be right. I want us to do this in a better way."

ALSO READ | NYC touts COVID-19 safety measures in school walkthrough tour

New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter hosted a walkthrough to review health and safety measures in place for the upcoming year.


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