Williams, Treyger Respond To Another Last-minute Delay In School Re-opening

September 17th, 2020

Press Release

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams and Council Member Mark Treyger, Education Chair, released the following joint statement after the Mayor announced another delay in school re-opening, just four days before the previous revised re-opening date of September 21 and after over 50 schools citywide have reported COVID-19 cases among staff.

The Public Advocate, who has previously released a school reopening plan, will join a march and press conference to further respond to this announcement and call for a safe schools plan this afternoon. Details are available here.

"It's obvious that in-person schooling needed to be delayed - it has been, as we have said, for months - and it's just as obvious that the Mayor's so-called strategy of bringing us to the brink over and over is misguided and detrimental. The insistence on reopening as soon as possible, at any cost, is a strategy doomed to keep students and parents, teachers and administrators on the line only to pull a bait and switch again and again. The city needs time to increase staff, yes- but without also increasing safety measures, we will only see cases rise and time and lives lost. 

"COVID-19 and disastrous state level budget cuts have put our education system in crisis, and the Mayor's lack of a clear vision and a clear plan are only deepening that crisis. There are ways to address childcare concerns, ways to better serve students most in need, but ignoring these methods in favor of a broad reopening by an ever-shifting date has only created more chaos, including for parents whose own plans rely on a City that doesn't have one. 

"The City needs to utilize this extra time, as they should have all along, to order and review the supply of technology devices available for students and staff. Remote learning will always be part of this school year, and all students should have access to quality technology, regardless of their zip code.

"The Mayor argues that the plan changes only as the reality does, but fails to accept the self-evident reality that the safest, smartest choice has always been to open the school year remotely before phasing in in-person learning as safety standards - not a schedule - warrant."

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