The opening of the city’s public schools has been postponed back by six days, officials said. New York City public schools will now open on September 16th for remote learning, and on September 21st for blended learning, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced this morning. The previous start of school for the city’s 1.1. million children was on September 10th.
“We’re going to allow preparation days for our educators and staff to get ready under these unprecedented circumstances,” the Mayor said. Teachers will still report to their schools on Tuesday, September 8 to allow for additional days for preparation.
The announcement comes after a re-negotiation of the city’s contract with the teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers. Prior to the meeting, there were murmurings of a possible teachers ‘strike due in part to concerns about the lack of PPE gear, adequate testing and cleaning protocols.
“I can say to you now, because…our independent medical experts have stamped this plan, and we can now say that New York City public school system now has the most aggressive policies and greatest safeguards of any school system in the United States of America,” UFT head Michael Mulgrew said.
There will be about 200 testing locations, many are near public school buildings as well as mobile vans to make testing available at every school and will be free, the mayor said.
“We know this school year is going to be unlike any other school year we’ve ever had, and we’re excited about tackling these hard, hard issues but doing it in a way that keeps our students, our staff and everyone associated with our schools healthy and safe,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza added.
Sue Holden, a mother of two in elementary school on the Upper West Side who opted for remote learning, shared her agreement for the new start to the school year.
“I’m relieved because it’s safer, and the teachers need more time to prepare,” Holden said.
Lee Uehara is not only a journalist and documentary-style photographer, she is also the host of the podcast, House of Lee NYC. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and many other news outlets through her work as a former reporter for The Associated Press. You can usually spot her in the neighborhood walking her dog with a camera in hand. Visit HouseOfLeeNYC.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.