The last time students walked in through New York City public school doors to attend class was in March. They haven’t been back since the city shut down the largest public school system in the nation because of the pandemic. This week, Mayor de Blasio revealed a plan to reopen city schools, but Governor Cuomo has not said yet whether that will happen.
New Yorkers are split on whether students should be allowed back into the classrooms.
“It can be done safely, I think, but not fully open with all the kids in there at the same time,” said New Yorker.
“It’s a 1 percent chance that one gets infected. We can’t take this risk,” added another. “We just need to follow the protocol until things get settled and we know the virus is no longer in our country.”
It’s that possibility of infection among students that has U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer calling on Washington to provide federal funding as part of the next stimulus bill. That bill is still awaiting a vote by the Senate.
He’s pushing for passing of the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act, a new plan to inject $175 billion into the nation’s education system to help schools across the country get ready to safely reopen.
On Sunday, Schumer said New York would get a large portion of the funding, which provides funding for K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities.
“The federal government must lead the way by funding the safety measures that would open the doors of New York and the nation’s schools in a way that helps ensure the coronavirus does not needlessly spread or infect teachers, kids or staff,” Schumer said.
“The federal dollars would help schools get PPE, barriers, as well as cleaning and other supplies to make a safe learning environment for children,” Schumer added.
The plan would also provide billions of dollars for tuition relief, childcare providers and child abuse prevention.
Senator Schumer said school districts hit hard by the novel coronavirus can’t afford to make these investments on their own and could stay closed without federal aid.
“How is a kid going to school, if it’s not protected?” asked another local. “No mask. No hand sanitizer. I think it’s important that we protect each other, especially during these times.”