Reopen NYC: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams unveils reopening city schools plan

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Amid a city and nationwide debate on education strategies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams released a proposal for reopening schools.

He says his plan would reintroduce in-person learning in phases, based on public health infrastructure standards being met by facility, susceptibility to contract or spread the virus and need.

"We also have to let folks know that we cannot always eliminate all risks, but we have duty as government to do our best to minimize the risk," he said.

Williams' plan calls for a delay of month until October students first learning from remote centers.

"During that time we will we will have rec centers open like we do now, enrichment centers where people can drop off children or children can come and remote learn with the rest of their classmates," he said.

Then in October, Williams' plan calls for students 10 years old and younger to return to school. He and others stress a public health infrastructure be in place.

"The under 10's would be a lower risk," Epidemiologist Dr. Celine Gounder said. "They are lower risk of getting infected, they are lower risk of getting disease and they are at lower risk of transmitting disease to adults."

Most high school students they believe could continue to learn remotely, but some teachers have concerns.

"There are a lot of people feeling insecure," one teacher said. "And we are not ready to go in there and teach these kids 100% if we feel vulnerable."

Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan is to move forward in September.

"We're working very closely with the unions representing all the folks who work in our schools, and we have a plan if something happens that causes us to need to adjust that plan," the mayor said. "We'll talk about that right, but right now we are moving forward with our plan."

Parents also say they too want an active voice.

"We really want to be part of the decision making because these are our lives, these are our kids and our students, and we care enough to be part of that work," parent Tajh Sutton said.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio along with local health experts have repeatedly called contact tracing a key element in preventing another spike of coronavirus in the city.



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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio along with local health experts have repeatedly called contact tracing a key element in preventing another spike of coronavirus in the city.



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