As areas around New York City enter the first phases of reopening, many in the city are wondering if public schools will be able to open in the fall.
Since March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been closed and 1.1 million public school students have been remote learning. Various twists and turns during
the COVID-19 crisis, including the recent outbreak of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in
Children (MIS-C), have parents feeling uneasy about sending their children back to school in the fall.
A recent poll released by market research company Ipsos reveals that more people are comfortable going back to work, but don’t feel the same about allowing their children to return to school. The polls said that nearly half of U.S. parents don’t feel comfortable with their children going back to the classroom.
Teachers are also feeling uneasy about returning to the classroom with a recent USA Today/Ipsos poll revealing that 1 in 5 U.S teachers are planning to leave the teaching profession if schools reopen.
Questions about schools reopening in the fall were the subject at one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily press briefings last week. Parents are concerned about transportation and spacing between children in a school. De Blasio said that safety and health will be a priority in any decisions.
“To educate our kids, the best thing to do is bring them back,” de Blasio said. “But if it’s not safe, we’re not going to do it, so––and that’s about the safety of our kids, our parents, our educators, our school staff, everyone.”
De Blasio added that students and teachers could see temperature checks and COVID-19 testing in schools. Students could also see staggered days like one day of in-person learning and another day of online learning. Of course, students could see all remote learning in the fall.
“I sure have not met an educator who’s telling me that online is achieving the same thing as kids in classrooms,” the mayor said. “So, we’ll balance it, but it’ll always be about safety first.”
In April, NYC public schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told principals that there is a 50-50 chance schools will reopen in September.
“We are moving full steam ahead for a September opening of schools, but always planning for any eventuality,” Carranza said on Twitter. “Grateful every day for the hard work of all of our dedicated educators and support staff in serving our 1.1 million students.”