New York City Tuesday delayed its public school opening as the teachers union threatened to strike over lack of clarity around health and safety precautions and class preparations.
Given the city and state’s under control COVID-19 numbers, the nation’s largest school district had planned to open in-person Sept. 10 with a blended approach. But constituencies involved, including parents, had a raft of outstanding questions and concerns and asked for more time. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a delay to 21st. He was joined at a briefing by officials from the teachers’ and principals’ unions.
School staff reports to work the day after Labor Day and teachers will begin preparing classrooms on September 10th. Students will begin remote learning starting on September 16th for three days.
“Resolution has been found in a constructive spirit,” Mayor de Blasio said. “We’ve come to an agreement to move forward.”
“Teachers who usually get two days of professional development at the beginning of the school year will now get nine. We’ve heard from everyone in our schools that have said we need some more time,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said. “This will strengthen and improve and make it so we have the safest start the school year,” Carranza said.
“This is what I would hold up as an example of how to get things done,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). “We now can say that New York City Public School system has the most aggressive policies and greatest safeguards of any school system in the United States of America.”
The nation’s second largest school district in Los Angeles opened two weeks ago with online learning only. The LAUSD has announced an ambitious testing and tracing program for students, families and staff on a rolling basis in the months ahead to pave the way for an in-person opening that’s as safe as possible.