Oct. 7, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Queens Council Member Costa Constantinides wants the city to provide a concrete plan for all public school students to be taught remotely following an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The Astoria lawmaker said the recent increase in coronavirus cases means that all public schools are on course to being shut down and the city must now come up with a comprehensive plan for all students to be taught online.
Constantinides said the city needs to act now instead of waiting and then rushing a plan out.
He said that the city cannot repeat the mistakes from March whereby schools were abruptly closed and proper plans were not put in place for remote learning.
Constantinides said that students, educators and parents deserve definitive guidelines from the city as to how students are being taught this year.
The governor and mayor have already announced that schools in several COVID hotspots – including Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills and Far Rockaway – must shut down this week and Constantinides said that it’s only a matter of time before all city schools shutter.
“At this point it’s not a question of if New York City’s schools will close, but when,” Constantinides said in a statement Tuesday.
“Instead of rushing into a plan for full remote learning, the city must clearly, transparently develop a strategy to take as many students as possible fully online,” he said.
The city’s public school students were automatically enrolled in a blended learning model for the new school year in which they attend class in-person on some weekdays and learn remotely on other days.
The blended learning model seeks to reduce the number of students physically attending school in order to allow for social distancing. Parents could choose that their children attend classes remotely five days a week.
However, the surge in cases means that all students will likely end up learning from home for the bulk of this school year, Constantinides said.
Constantinides said while all schools should now be transitioning to remote learning, some students – like 3-K, Pre-K and District 75 students – will still require in-person learning.
“We need a safe plan to make sure early age and District 75 students get the attention they need, while also keeping them and their teachers safe,” Constantinides said.