Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams issued the following statement on the city's school reopening strategy as the Mayor continues to push for in-person learning to resume on September 10. He will join a press conference with the Alliance for Quality Education and other education advocates this morning to further explain his opposition.
"The Mayor and Chancellor got an assignment five months ago: to develop and implement a strategy for schools in the fall that would be educationally sound, scientifically supported, and centered on the safety of students and staff. Failure to deliver on that charge, while holding to the same deadline, has put teachers, administrators, students and parents in a near-impossible situation.
"The plans and modifications coming from this administration at this late stage are strategies that could possibly have been effective if considered and collaborated on months ago, with adequate input and adequate funding. Now, they come amid rising opposition from parents, teachers, administrators and medical professionals, and would place an additional and undue burden on those same groups. In the midst of a city and state budget crisis, they risk compounding existing inequities. And they demonstrate a reality we all know to be true but which some won't admit - the city is not prepared to resume in-person learning on the arbitrary date of September 10th, and the prudent course of action is to open remotely while critical infrastructure is put in place, before phasing in in-person learning with effective safety measures. Yes, the city's strategies could come together in the next two weeks - but the possibility is, at the least, remote."