NYC school re-opening has been delayed by ten days, as part of the deal with the teachers’ union to prevent a strike, the Mayor announced this morning.
Schools were supposed to open for the Fall semester on September 10. Now, remote learning will begin on September 16 and in-person classes (the Blended Learning Plan) will begin on September 21. According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, teachers will have four extra days (Sept. 10, 11, 14, and 15) to prepare for returning to classes. Then, starting September 16, there will be a three-day transitional period where all classes will be remote.
“Teachers, who usually get two days of professional development at the beginning of the school year, will now get nine,” NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said. “We’ve heard from everyone in our schools that have said we need some more time.”
There will also be a monthly medical monitoring program of both staff and students, which will include random COVID-19 tests of between 10-20% of students and staff. Students whose parents who do not grant permission for random testing will be moved to remote learning cohorts. And any staff member who elects not to participate in the testing will be placed on unpaid leave.
“It’s a self-swab test, it’s a Q-tip, not the long apparatus that goes farther up your nose. I’ve done that one, I don’t want to do it again,” d Blasio said. “I like the Q-tip, I think parents will feel comfortable with that. It’s free. We’ll go about the process of getting those consent forms.”
According to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), school buildings will re-open “while final safety arrangements are completed, including the assignment of a school nurse to every building, ventilation checks, and the presence of sufficient protective and cleaning supplies.”
“The presence of a COVID-19 case or cases confined to one class will result in the entire class moving to remote instruction; more than one case in a school will mean that the entire school will move to remote instruction until the contact tracing is completed,” the UFT school agreement said. “Schools will need to switch to 100 percent remote instruction if the percentage of positive tests in New York City are equal to or more than 3% using a 7-day rolling average; however, even if the overall case rates across New York City were to remain low, all school buildings could be closed if there were recurrent, uncontrolled outbreaks in schools of COVID-19.”
“I sit here today talking to the parents, to all of my members, the teachers, the guidance counselors, the paraprofessionals, all the therapists,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. “We now can say the NYC public school system has the most aggressive policies and greatest safeguards of any school system in the USA.”