NYC Mayor Considering Virtual Learning Plan For Schools

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams, center, speaks during a cabinet meeting on his first day in office in New York, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams is considering allowing the nation’s largest school district to return to some form of virtual instruction as the city weathers a wave of coronavirus cases, a reversal from his pledge a week ago to keep children in schools.

Adams said at a news conference Thursday that he still believes the safest place for children to be is in school, “but we do have to be honest that there’s a substantial number of children, for whatever reason, parents are not bringing them to school.”

Attendance levels since students returned from winter break have been lower than usual, with anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of students not showing up to class most days. As of Wednesday, attendance district-wide was 76%, according to city Department of Education numbers. In a district of nearly a million students, that means about 220,000 were either out sick or otherwise missing school.

More than 100 schools reported attendance of less than 60%, and more than 50 reported less than half of all students attending class Wednesday.

After peaking the first week in January, the average number of new cases in New York City has declined slightly in recent days, raising some hopes among officials that the omicron tide is ebbing.

Adams, a Democrat who took office on the first of the year, has taken a bullish stance on the pandemic, urging New Yorkers to take precautions and get vaccinated but not to let COVID-19 control their lives. He also repeatedly said the city cannot afford more shutdowns of businesses or schools.

Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers union representing the city’s public school teachers, had asked the mayor to postpone in-person learning as Adams took office.

Adams said Thursday that he’s been working closely with Mulgrew and has been willing to entertain temporary remote learning so long as it was a “quality option.”

“But my goal: I want children in school,” Adams said.

The mayor stressed that the city would not see a dispute like that in Chicago, where the nation’s third-largest school district canceled five days of classes because of a disagreement with the teachers’ union over COVID-19 safety protocols.

“This is not Chicago,” Adams said. “We can resolve this. We can get through these crises and we will find the right way to educate our children in a very safe environment.”

He did not offer details about what a remote option might look like. Messages left with the teachers union and the city’s Department of Education were not immediately returned.

The city’s school system was one of the first to return to in-person instruction after the pandemic hit in 2020 and schools closed in March for the rest of the year. They started a hybrid plan in the fall of 2020, with most students inside school a few days a week and at home learning online the rest of the time.

New York City students returned to full-time in-person instruction this past fall.

(AP)

5 COMMENTS

  1. Bad idea. Here in Brooklyn, where frum schools have been in session even with many kids out due to flu/covid, we’re still seeing the lingering effects of remote learning in 2019- 2020. It’s not pretty. Remote learning, whether Zoom or conference calls, has resukted in kids with delayed emotional maturity, poor work habits, lack of motivation, and difficulty meeting age appropriate expectations in learning and behavior. Keep schools open!

  2. Many employers who sent employees home for Covid, provided them with modern laptops and reasonably fast internet connections. Unless this is done for students who are required to do remote schooling, it won’t work.
    And politicians who put the interests of teachers and their unions ahead of those of students and parents, will pay a price politically.

  3. WOW!
    This is news giving in to a uniun of people that just are lazy to work.
    Lockdowns only delay a spread, the second you will try to reopen anything everyone will be sick, the only scientific explanation for lockdowns was to begin with and remains flattening the curve, not to overwhelm the healthcare system, witch would not make any sense with the current variant.
    And at this time my doctors office is back to normal unlike two weeks ago when a big percent of NYC was running to the doctors with the flu, so why they want to lock down now is any ones guess?
    BUT NEVER FORGET TRUST SCIENCE NEVER ASK QUESTIONS
    IN THE DEMOCRAT PARTY OF THE U.S.A.

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