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NYC officials push for a delayed start to the 2020–2021 school year

Here's what their plans look like.

Written by
Oliver Strand

Will schools open in September? 

This simple question has become one of the most contested issues in NYC this summer. Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio released plans for schools to reopen as scheduled on Sept 10 with blended learning, a mix of remote and in-person instruction. Governor Andrew Cuomo responded with an update on the academic year by outlining the state's "data-driven guidance for reopening schools."

Now, some NYC officials are considering a delayed start to the new year. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams just proposed that schools push back opening until October for elementary school, and January for middle and high school. He addresses issues that currently remain uncertain, including:  

• Setting a budget to make possible any necessary infrastructure changes
• Conducting a childcare survey to gauge needs
• Engaging a reopening task force driven by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

By framing school reopening a health issue, rather than primarily an economic or political issue, Williams echoes City Council member and Education Chair Mark Treyger, who tweeted that the "school year should begin later in the fall to allow for DOE & schools to fully plan and program a safe reopening."

Treyger further details his position in a statement titled, "Public Health Data Needs to Guide the Safe Reopening of Our Schools." 
He also states that "remote learning must include synchronous instruction." In other words, school instructors should actively teach via online videoconferencing that will engage students, and not simply assign work via Google Classroom.
Which brings us back to the question: Will schools will open in September? And will NYC make good on its promise to provide free daycare for children ages 3 and up?
NYC families will have a better idea at the end of this week: The Mayor needs to submit a reopening outline to Governor by Friday, July 31, and a detailed proposal by mid-August.

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