New York City

New York Principals: City Not Ready for In-Person Schools

UPDATED: Schools are not ready for in-person learningPrincipals from District 2, New York City Board of Education’s largest, joined in a call for delay. On September 1st, in a compromise between administration and union, they won that delay.

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island Daily/News thanks reader Sylvan Klein for this tip.

Update: September 2nd, 2020.

“Let me give you an update on how the timing is going to work under this plan,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press briefing.

He was joined by United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and President Mark Cannizzaro of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.

“So, the normal school year, educators, staff are in their buildings by the day after Labor Day and that will be true here as well, Tuesday, September 8th. The school days, the instructional days were slated to begin September 10th. We’re going to hold that for a few days.

“We’re going to allow preparation days for our educators and staff to get ready under these unprecedented circumstances. So, September 10th and 11th, September 14th and 15th will be days devoted to preparation, to really making sure that blended learning can work for everybody, that everyone understands their role, everyone has had a chance to practice together and coordinate.”

As a result, in-person classes in city schools resumes September 21st, instead of the 10th, as previously planned.

END OF UPDATE

“Group of principals from NYC’s biggest school district, District 2, join calls to delay in-person school,” tweeted Eliza Shapiro,” making the conflict public.

And additional comments, many from teachers, extended the thread. The mayor and schools chancellor moved too fast, they believe, and the teachers want a delay.

Their expressed concerns were about logistics/planning than about safety.

“They still don’t know how many kids + teachers are gonna show up,” Shapiro posted.

Principals: City Schools Not Ready for In-Person Learning

Schools like PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island, are not ready for in-person learning, principal say.
PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island. School Principal Mandana Beckman signed on to the group request. The school has been open for free food giveaways since March.

The principals concerns center on practical questions, but safety is likely also on their minds.

Distrust runs deep. “They” refers to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza, both of whom insist schools are ready for in-person classes.

Here’s the list offered by the principals detailing why schools are not ready for in-person classes…

It’s not simple, principals Say

Mayor de Blasio Weighs in…

Later that day, the mayor held a media availability with Carranza, but it was limited to safety issues.

De Blasio talked about New Bridges Elementary School in Brooklyn and its principal Kevyn Bowles:

“These were the centers set up for the kids of essential workers in the middle of the crisis, March, April, May. He said, in his center, people worked together. Kids did wear their masks consistently. There was distancing. There was cleaning. He said there was not a single new COVID case in that center.”

The two did not address the principals’ worries about the simple mechanics of holding classes while helping online learners at the same time. The principals worry about rushing, and Governor Cuomo has also expressed concerns.

Behind the arguments lay worries about how parents can return to work if their kids are at home.

This story is developing, and we’ll keep an eye on it.

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