NEW YORK (WABC) -- Students, parents and educators made an impassioned plea during a City Council hearing to delay the reopening of NYC schools even later.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the start of the school year will be delayed amid the threat of a teacher strike, but now there is a call to delay the start even more.
"They mayor's and the DOE's plan as well as the new deal struck by the mayor and Michael Mulgrew is not safe and it is not equitable," said teacher and parent Meghan Sciannamo.
In-person learning in New York City public schools was pushed back until September 21 with remote learning set to begin on September 16. School was previously scheduled to begin with a blended approach on September 10.
"The thing that comes to mind with the school reopening is anger," said student activist Merrill Mousooma. "Anger that low income kids like me will be left behind either way because our school doesn't have internet access."
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The City Council Education Committee, led by chair Mark Treyger, held a public hearing Thursday about a resolution introduced at last Thursday's City Council meeting to:
"...only open school buildings that have met the health and safety standards prescribed in the UFT 50-item checklist and implement a medically recommended mandatory randomized COVID-19 testing program for adults and students..."
In the absence of this, Treyger believes the DOE's focus should be remote learning.
"The administration was so focused on trying to get things ready for in-person, remote learning is nowhere near ready and it's unclear to me what they've been doing this entire time," Treyger said.
One of the biggest concerns mentioned during the hearing is poor ventilation in schools has not been adequately addressed and could contribute to the spread of the virus.
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"I'm glad the schools are reopening to answer your question but I'm absolutely convinced that we're going to have to close the schools again," said Dr. Irvin Redlener with Columbia University. "I'm pretty certain we're going to see a resurgence. There's too many factors here we can't control. It's a virus. It's going to spread. And the schools are not as ready as they could or should be."
But UFT President Michael Mulgrew explained the agreement the union reached earlier this week has protections in place.
"That becomes our challenge, to hold this administration's feet to the fire. If something is not in place and happening ... we need to use our legal authority," he said. "If they don't rectify it within hours, schools go remote. Period, end of story."
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