Mayor Eric Adams said on Friday that schools will not be closing, one day after saying he's considering a temporary remote learning option as pressure mounts amid high rates of absenteeism.
“Schools are not closing — let’s be very clear on that,” Adams said at a news conference at the Steinway Factory in Astoria, Queens.
He said that his office is speaking with the United Federation of Teachers and legislators to discuss “different methods” to ensure safety while keeping schools open.
“I'm just amazed that no one is commending us on what we have accomplished,” he said. “This is not Chicago. We are working with the UFT. It is as though people are disappointed that I'm able to sit down and have conversations with each other," Adams said referring to canceled classes in Chicago.
This comes as thousands of teachers and students are testing positive for the virus, resulting in high rates of absenteeism in schools.
Attendance rates have not moved above 76% since winter break. This means a quarter of a million students are going without instruction.
Students this week staged a walkout to protest COVID-19 policies, calling for a remote option.
Still, the mayor emphasized that “the safest place for our babies is a school building and the numbers are bearing this out.”
He went on to say: “When I took office January 1st, I was clear on my message: I'm not closing my schools. I'm not closing them because we get three to six inches of snow. I'm not closing them because of other issues. I'm going to keep my children safe and we’re going to find out a way to do that and ensure our children are educated.”