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Mayor Bill de Blasio reveals an outdoor learning plan for NYC schools this fall

"It's going to open up a lot of wonderful possibilities."

Written by
Danielle Valente

Summer 2020 is officially winding down, and New Yorkers are preparing for arguably the most unusual back-to-school season they've ever encountered. 

However, new methods to keep children safe are in the works, including outdoor learning. Mayor Bill de Blasio has revealed the steps all schools across the city—public, private, charter and so on—can take in order to set up shop out of the classroom. Not only are principals encouraged to utilize their school yards, but beginning Aug 24, they are able to request additional space. NYC schools that apply by this Friday, Aug 28, will receive an answer next week about additional areas they can access, including closed streets and nearby parks. 

"A new outdoor learning plan is going to open up a lot of wonderful possibilities for our kids and for our educators," Mayor de Blasio said during today's press briefing. "So we heard those voices that asked, 'Can we do something different under these circumstances' and the answer is yes."

Priority will be given to the 27 neighborhoods that were most affected by the virus, including East New York, Lower East Side and Corona, as well as schools that do not have outdoor space. Parents, teachers and lawmakers have made a call for outdoor learning earlier this summer, including Council Member Brand Lander, who serves the 39th Council District in Brooklyn. 

"This crisis demands that we all work together to use our resources in new ways to meet emerging needs," he said. "New York's streets and parks offer a chance to address deep concerns from parents and school staff, and an opportunity to make schools safer, expand in-person learning for some students and improve the quality of learning for many."

Have questions? Make sure to sign up for the NYC DOE's final virtual information session this Thursday. 

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