x

Politics

NYC Delays Start of School Year to Allow More Prep Time

September 1, 2020

NEW YORK — New York City delayed the start of its school year by several days to give teachers more time to prepare for having students back in classrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

In a deal struck with unions representing teachers, staff and administrators, instruction that was supposed to begin on Sept. 10 will be delayed until Sept. 16. All students will spend the first few days learning from home, by computer, before in-person instruction begins for some students on Sept. 21.

"A lot was on the line here to work through. But I'm pleased to report that we've come to an agreement to move forward, to address real concerns that have been raised bout how to do things the right way, how to do them the safe, healthy way, how to make sure people are prepared for the school year under absolutely unprecedented conditions," de Blasio said.

De Blasio was joined at a news conference Tuesday by union leaders who said they do believe the city can welcome students back safely, they just need more time to get ready for their arrival.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the union's independent medical experts had signed off on the reopening plan. 

"We can now say that New York City's public school system has the most aggressive policies and greatest safeguards of any school system in the United States of America," he said.

The development comes after the mayor, a Democrat, emphasized for months that the city's pandemic recovery depends on getting 1.1 million public school students back in classrooms in person after the coronavirus abruptly forced a thorny plunge into remote learning in March. 

Even as other big U.S. school systems — including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston — decided to start the school year with students learning remotely, de Blasio stuck with a plan for a Sept. 10 hybrid reopening that was intended to feature as much classroom time as possible while still allowing for social distancing.

New York suffered the deadliest coronavirus spike in the country before getting the virus' spread in check in late spring, even as it climbed anew in many other parts of the country.

The city's plan to restart schools includes mask-wearing, staggered schedules to reduce the number of students in rooms, supplying every school building with a nurse and asking all staffers to get tested shortly before school starts. The city dispatched ventilation experts to check out air flow in classrooms, and officials said they would work to make parks and streets available as teaching space if principals were interested. 

Tuesday's deal to delay the start of class was announced ahead of a planned afternoon meeting by delegates of the United Federation of Teachers, which was poised to vote on whether to authorize a strike.

New York state bars teachers and other public employees from striking; unions can be fined if they do. 

New York City students had their last day of in-class instruction March 13. All schools statewide were closed by March 18.

During the summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would allow a return to in-person school in regions where fewer than 5% of people tested for COVID-19 came back positive.

The entire state has been well under that threshold all summer.

The Democratic governor this month cleared schools to open around the state, while cautioning that they still needed to address parents' and teachers' safety concerns.

RELATED

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — President Joe Biden said Sunday that recent cases of monkeypox that have been identified in Europe and the United States were something "to be concerned about.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mission…to Amyntaio, a TNH Documentary by Clelia Charissis

Dear readers, let me briefly introduce myself, while wishing you "a summer full of positive energy and good health.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.