NEW YORK - The city’s school reopening plan is moving forward despite calls from teachers and principals unions to delay in-person learning until the end of September.
Public schools are expected to open on Sept. 10, and principals have until Friday to decide which plan they want their schools to follow. Students and families will learn what their blended learning plan will be on Monday, and schedules will be out by the week of Aug. 24.
But all of this is happening pretty close to kickoff.
Some parents and staff are concerned plans were crafted too hastily as all of this needs to come together in a matter of weeks.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza argues that the timeline makes sense, saying the city was learning new information throughout the summer and also had to ensure coronavirus cases were at a minimum.
“As we’re identifying issues, we’re tackling each one of those issues. And some of the information was just later in the summer,” Carranza told NY1 in an exclusive interview.
“We have a month until we’re scheduled for in-person learning. The most critical component of even considering in-person learning is the positive percentage rate in our community, which continues to be exceptionally low in New York City,” he said.
On Wednesday, Carranza visited a Queens middle school with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said delaying reopening will rob students of valuable in-person education opportunities.
"I actually believe in our traditional public schools, I believe in our educators, and I believe what they do in the classrooms is irreplaceable. So my sense is if you want to take away another month of a kid's education you could do that, but that's not where I start. I start with let's answer the valid concerns that teachers and administrators are raising with a whole month to go,” the mayor said.
The schools chancellor pointed out the city is taking a more conservative approach to safety. While the World Health Organization and CDC guidelines ask phases to be scaled back once positive cases surpass 5 percent, city schools are working with a stricter 3 percent.
The State of New York is also operating based off of a 5 percent threshold.
Should cases surpass a 3 percent positive rate, schools will be shut down immediately and a fully remote schedule will return.
Parents not comfortable sending their children back to school were able to opt into remote learning by last Friday. But those who did not and choose to later make the switch to virtual can do so at any time, said Carranza.
Should parents want to later choose in-person learning, there will be certain periods available to do so. They will have to wait for these opportunities since they involve reprogramming, scheduling and staff adjustments.
Regardless of how they return, students will be held accountable for their work.
When school is back in session, “attendance will count, grades will count, because we’re starting the year with everybody’s eyes wide open,” said Carranza.
Carranza joined “Mornings On 1” via Skype Thursday morning.