NEW YORK – With just four days’ notice, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has delayed the start of in-school public education for the second time for many students on Thursday as the city struggles to reopen safely during the coronavirus epidemic.
While online courses are already underway, in-house reading has been delayed from September 10 to Monday, September 21, for those students who enter.
Now, only preschool children and students with special learning needs will start Monday, the mayor said at a news conference. Elementary school students will begin on Tuesday, September 29. Middle and high school students will begin on October 1.
“This is a huge undertaking,” said De Blasio, who has oversight of the largest district in the United States, serving more than 1.1 million children. “It’s difficult. It’s a challenge. ”
Most of the other major school districts in the United States have abandoned plans to continue learning within a person for now. Attempts are being made in New York City, which was the site of the U.S.’s global epidemic.
The mayor was joined by leaders of teachers’ unions, who expressed concern about efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus. De Blasio sought to reassure school staff that ventilation systems are being upgraded, nurses are being hired, security equipment is being maintained and access to testing is being improved.
“If we are going to do this, we have to make sure we get this right,” Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, told a news conference.
De Blasio said a total of 4,500 additional teachers had been recruited.
The city had earlier agreed with the unions that there would be a monthly student and staff audit, with existing plans to send classes home or close all schools if new COVID-19 cases were discovered.