Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
“Our students, staff, and families have demonstrated tremendous resilience over the last six months, and we’re going to continue to build on all the work we’ve done as we move forward,” Chancellor Carranza said.
By Michael V. Cusenza
City education officials on Thursday issued a new phased school schedule and additional staffing plan as the 2020-2021 academic year gets off to a shaky start across the five boroughs.
According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, and Council of School Supervisors & Administrators President Mark Cannizzaro, teachers and students this week have been remotely engaging in preparations and orientations for the school year. As remote learning continues, in-person learning for blended learning students will be phased-in across the next two weeks, beginning with:
- Monday, Sept. 21: Blended learning students in grades 3-K and Pre-K, as well as all grades in District 75
- Tuesday, Sept. 29: Blended learning students enrolled in K-5 and K-8 schools
- Thursday, Oct. 1: Blended learning students enrolled in middle schools, high schools, secondary schools (schools spanning grades 6-12), and transfer schools/adult education
According to officials, all students in full remote programs started as planned with full-day instruction on Monday, Sept. 21. As students begin in-person learning according to the above timeline, they will do so according to the blended learning schedules their schools have provided them (e.g., coming in person on Tuesday and Wednesday).
Adding to the 2,000 additional teaching staff to be deployed to schools that de Blasio announced on Monday, Sept. 13, the City will also bring on 2,500 additional educators to fulfill staffing needs at 3-K, Pre-K, District 75, K-5 and K-8 schools. These educators will help fill key gaps for in-person learning in schools to make sure that all students have a rigorous learning experience in a safe, healthy environment, according to City education leaders. Additionally, the officials said that the Department of Education is continuing to engage middle and high schools as well to establish their needs for additional staffing, and will announce additional staff capacity for those schools in the coming weeks.
“Our students, staff, and families have demonstrated tremendous resilience over the last six months, and we’re going to continue to build on all the work we’ve done as we move forward,” Carranza said. “We are giving our schools more staff, more time, and more support to have the strongest possible start to the most unprecedented school year.”
Plenty of critics blasted de Blasio and Carranza for the latest reopening delay.
“COVID-19 and disastrous State-level budget cuts have put our education system in crisis, and the mayor’s lack of a clear vision and a clear plan are only deepening that crisis,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “There are ways to address childcare concerns, ways to better serve students most in need, but ignoring these methods in favor of a broad reopening by an ever-shifting date has only created more chaos, including for parents whose own plans rely on a City that doesn’t have one.”
De Blasio has said that the City will not reopen schools if the citywide infection rate exceeds 3 percent. As of Wednesday afternoon, the citywide infection rate was under 1 percent.