With many public schools still offering part-time in-person learning or no live instruction at all, some mayoral candidates are casting for votes from frustrated parents — and finding a tricky test that’s not so easy to pass.
At the head of the class: Democrat Andrew Yang, who has been advocating for schools to fully reopen for all students, five days per week come September — making it among his campaign priorities.
Rival Maya Wiley followed with a call for every school to immediately open “in person, five days a week.
Some mayoral candidates have angled to keep both pro-school-opening and opening-concerned parents happy: They say reopen school buildings fully — but keep a remote-learning option available.
At least four top mayoral candidates — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former mayoral counsel Wiley, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Comptroller Scott Stringer — are in that camp.
The heads of the teachers and principals’ unions also say that providing a remote-learning option will be a necessity.
Garcia, a former Sanitation commissioner, backs remote learning as a possibility for high school students and in other “limited circumstances,” according to officials with her campaign.
The campaign of former Citibank executive Ray McGuire said accommodations should be made for students with medical conditions and “other factors as necessary,” but that the default would be in-person learning.
A full return to school buildings would resolve a pile of remote-learning problems.
Last year’s bumpy transition to remote learning suffered from a host of problems that included lack of sufficient tablets and Wi-Fi access. Staffing issues also emerged as schools had to find enough teachers to cover different groups of students coming to classrooms on different days during hybrid learning, on top of the remote option.
Some parents and students were also upset to learn that many middle and high schools were teaching remotely even when students were in classrooms — an approach derided as “Zoom in a room.” One reason: 28% of teachers have received pandemic medical accommodations to teach remotely through June 30.
But a full return to in-person learning will also require newly recalibrated safety measures that have yet to be determined. Disruptions to in-person learning were a frequent headache for parents and students until the city last month stopped closing entire schools when just two unrelated COVID cases popped up in the building. With a threshold now at four cases, no schools are currently closed.
A group of over two dozen public school parents sought a court injunction Tuesday against the city, de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter seeking to compel them to resume in-person instruction for all students five days per week.
The parents say city officials are depriving their kids of the right to a sound, basic education that’s guaranteed in New York’s constitution.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew is among those who say the biggest obstacle to a return to in-person learning is the reluctance of families. He urged the city to host open houses at schools in the coming weeks to begin to address the anxiety of families and teachers, and he’s advocating for a public campaign to help convince families the schools are safe. Principals union president Mark Cannizzaro said “I would love for us to get to a point where that’s not an option, because I think kids belong in school,” he said. “I just don’t see the ability right now to not have that option.”
Both he and Mulgrew emphasized that no matter what de Blasio decides, he needs to pull the trigger soon — or else the delays that plagued the opening of the 2020 school year would repeat again this September. You can read more here.
It’s been a challenging year, especially for our kids. My girls are in school only 3 days a week right now. They are much happier on the days they are in school and we are hoping that by September they will be back 5 days a week. We will continue to update you on all topics that affect our city! Reach out anytime.