Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Councilman Ulrich recently sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter detailing the many challenges parents in his district are currently facing as a result of the ongoing school closures.
By Michael V. Cusenza
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) recently reached out to the City Department of Education to change its protocols for COVID-19 school closures. In a letter penned to new Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter, Ulrich details the many challenges parents in his district are currently facing as a result of the ongoing closures.
“For more than a year now, students have had their entire academic lives upended by the pandemic. Distance learning simply does not provide the same quality of education and necessary social interaction for our students,” Ulrich wrote. “Additionally, as parents and guardians have been returning to work, finding childcare during the school hours has become a massive burden – and oftentimes, a costly one… During a time of such economic uncertainty, we cannot afford to put parents in a position where they must choose between putting food on the table and caring for their child during school hours.”
In a memo to parents, Porter noted when students who opt-in to blended learning during the opt-in window, which begins Wednesday, March 24, would be allowed to return to school buildings:
- Students in district 3-K, Pre-K, and grades K-5, including students in District 75, who opt into blended learning during this opt-in window will return to buildings in April.
- Students in grades 6-12 who opt into blended learning during this opt-in window will return at a later date, and we will communicate more details as soon as possible.
In his letter, Ulrich notes that his office has been inundated with complaints from constituents.
“In recent months, schools in my district have been opened and closed so many times that hundreds of parents have contacted my office to complain,” he writes. “In some cases, entire buildings were closed on account of just two positive cases.”
Ulrich goes on to explain that no other facility or business has such a strict standards for operating, urging DOE to ease up on the protocols.
“While we can all agree that the safety of our children and DOE staff is the highest of priorities – no other businesses, offices, or facilities have such strict guidelines for closures,” Ulrich adds. “In order to begin returning to normalcy, it is imperative we provide our children in-person learning and reopen our schools.”