By Jessica Easthope
September 21 was the day many students, parents and teachers had been waiting for. After six months, New York City’s public schools would have their first day of in person learning. But, it was once again delayed.
“Real concerns have been raised by my colleagues. They reached out to me and said they had specific concerns about things that had to be done to make sure our schools could start effectively and safely,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
This is the second delay for in-school learning for the Department of Education. This time it was safety and efficiency issues raised by the teachers’ union and Schools Chancellor, Richard Carranza.
“We’re giving schools more time, more staff and more support and this helps us to have the strongest possible start to the most unconventional school year any one of us have experienced,” Carranza said.
The re-opening will now happen in phases. Pre-K and special needs students will start on Monday as planned, elementary school students start on September 29, and middle and high school students on October 1.
“We need to step back and figure out some things. We now have seen after a 10 day period that there are some blanks we need to fill in, and we’re going to do that,” said Michael Mulgrew, the President of the United Federation of Teachers.
Though 42 percent of all public school students opted for an all-virtual school year, the DOE needs 10,000 teachers to successfully manage a hybrid model. The city is still 5,500 short.
Catholic schools throughout the city also recognized the need for more staff immediately. At Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Academy in Corona, Queens they’ve added teachers to every classroom.
“We have a teacher assistant in the overflow room, so when she’s teaching a lesson on any given day, the teacher assistant is actually walking around ensuring the kids are learning exactly what she’s teaching,” said Cristina Tancredi-Cruz, Principal of Our Lady of Sorrows.
This delay comes as the DOE announces that at least 56 schools have had one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff.