Public Advocate Responds To Announcement That NYC Schools Will Be Fully In-person This Fall

May 24th, 2021

Press Release

"As a parent, I'm glad that we have reached a point where this level of re-opening could be possible in September - we all know that in-person learning is our best educational tool. As a policy maker, I know that it's critical we approach this announcement, and this pending step, with caution, and ensure that we spend the next several months increasing vaccination and access while decreasing transmission in order to achieve this goal in line with medical guidelines.

"When over a third of families are still hesitant to allow their children to return to the classroom in person, it is incumbent upon the city to engage with communities to both ensure safety and assure hesitant New Yorkers of that safety. It's similarly crucial to make clear that measures and protections will be provided equitably. We now have the resources to help ensure that students' mental and physical well-being are prioritized and protected, and the city must begin to implement these strategies now in order to build infrastructure and trust. 

"As we have seen again and again since schools first went remote last March, the state of the coronavirus pandemic is constantly changing, and the school plans that changed with it created an untenable situation. Even now, as the Governor suggests he may again bigfoot city action with state policy, our leaders are still engaging in the back-and-forth bickering that has created confusion throughout this time. In moving ahead with its goal, the city needs to have a contingency plan for any problems that arise - and for meeting the needs of the most vulnerable - and parents, students, teachers and school staff have a right to see that plan well before we head back to school in the fall."

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