Schools up in air until September 1

Mayor de Blasio said that the city wouldn’t be able to make a final decision on whether schools will reopen until September in a recent press appearance. The statement seems to go against Gov. Cuomo’s plan to release a determination the first week of August.

Mayor de Blasio reportedly said that the city wouldn’t be able to make a final decision about schools reopening until September on a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Though the mayor unveiled a “blended learning” plan for the city’s 1.1 million public school students earlier in July, he qualified those plans in the Wednesday, July 22, interview.

“We’re going to make that judgment when we get right up on the beginning of school in September,” he said, as reported in the New York Post. “It’s got to be about safety first. So from my point of view, you do everything possible to make the school environment safe, social distancing in the schools, face coverings, constant cleanings and a lot of kids will stay home.”

His office did not release a transcript of the interview as it does with many of his media appearances.

During his press conference last Thursday morning, a member of the press pool pointed out how the mayor’s statement seems to go against Gov. Cuomo, who asserted that determination on school reopenings will be made the first week in August.

“The state is going to make a decision, as I understand August 7th on the broad authorization for schools to move forward. And we respect the State’s role in this obviously. But between August 7th and the first day of school, you’re talking about a month. And a lot can happen in a month,” de Blasio said.

Despite the qualifications, he added that parents should be planning on the reopening of schools because that’s the direction the city is moving toward. Parents will have to make a decision whether to opt for remote-only instruction by Aug. 7.

The mayor’s recent statements indicate that all the public discourse about a staggered schedule and childcare could be for naught. The tenuous state of the school system has led some parent leaders to take any of de Blasio’s announcements with a large grain of salt.

“I know that they’re just putting this out there for parents to freak out first and then they take all their input,” CEC 26 President Adriana Aviles told the Chronicle in reaction to the city’s plan to institute a hybrid in-person schedule earlier this month.

What’s sure is that the task of reopening schools amid the pandemic is proving to be one of the most complex challenges of the COVID crisis.

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