After months of disagreements, Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education struck a deal with the United Federation of Teachers on back-to-school safety guidelines. That negotiation resulted in the delay of in-person learning until September 21, but concerns over in-person learning remain.
Councilman Mark Treyger, who serves as the City Council education chair, held a hearing on Thursday to discuss the city's plan. Speaking on Inside City Hall Thursday evening, the Brooklyn councilman said mistrust was the running theme of the hearing.
"Before you ask students to open a notebook in a class, you have to first establish trust in the classroom and establish a safe and supportive learning environment," he said. "That trust was broken by the administration back in March."
Treyger has been at the forefront of the public debate over school safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. In March, the councilman urged the de Blasio administration to shut down the school system when the virus began spreading. Treyger said the mayor's slow response cost the city money and also contributed to the distrust widely felt within the education community.
"The mayor's inability to make timely decisions, it's costly and at a time of crisis you need to be honest, transparent, and you have to be decisive," Treyger said.
"Today, we heard clearly that that trust between school communities and the city's leadership is broken."
Treyger also said he remains concerned and thinks the city should further delay reopening schools.
"We need to delay the reopening," he said. "We’re too big to come back at once."