Sept. 1, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City schools will reopen more than 10 days later than originally planned, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
Public school buildings were set to reopen next week on Thursday, Sept. 10, but de Blasio pushed back the reopening date to Monday, Sept. 21 in a last-minute change to avert a teachers’ strike.
The unions representing teachers and principals said they needed more time to prepare for the unprecedented school year amid COVID-19 regulations and a new teaching model. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) had threatened to strike if the city didn’t meet their requirements — among them, mandatory COVID-19 testing.
The union representing school principals, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), penned a letter to de Blasio last month demanding that he delay the reopening of schools, noting that more time is needed to properly implement a safety plan.
De Blasio was joined by the union leaders this morning to announce that the unions and city have reached an agreement.
“A lot was on the line here to work through, but I’m pleased to report that we’ve come to an agreement to move forward, to address real concerns that have been raised about how to do things the right way,” he said at the press briefing.
Schools will use the extra time to prepare for the new year.
“The school instructional days were slated to begin Sept. 10, we’re going to hold that for a few days,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to allow preparation days for our educators and staff to get ready under these unprecedented circumstances.”
Classrooms will open their doors on the 21st for blended learning, in which most students will attend classes in person either two or three days a week and will spend the remainder of school days learning online.
“What would have happened on Sept. 10 will now happen on Sept. 21,” de Blasio said.
All students will be required to do remote learning from Wednesday, Sept. 16 through Friday, Sept. 18 before classes switch to the blending learning model.
De Blasio also promised to have monthly COVID-19 testing at schools, in which a random sample of 10 to 20 percent of students and staff members would be tested for the virus.