NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City students will return to school in the fall with a “blended learning” model, the mayor and schools chancellor announced Wednesday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said most students will attend in-person classes two or three days a week.
“Blended learning simply means at some points in the week you’re leaning in person in the classroom, at other points in the week you’re learning remotely,” he said Wednesday. “For the vast majority of kids in the vast majority of schools, you’ll be going to school to the classroom either two days a week or three days a week, depending on the week.”
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza outlined two models — one for schools at 50% capacity, and one for schools at 33%.
“For the 2020-21 school year, it will look different,” he said. “Let me be clear: New York City students will be learning five days a week whether it’s in person or at home.”
Families who aren’t comfortable sending their children back to school may continue with remote learning. They will have the chance to opt back in on a quarterly basis.
JT Yost told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez his second-grade son, Rocky, and sixth-grade daughter, Lulu, can’t wait to get back into the classroom.
“I’m missing seeing all my friends and teachers every day,” Lulu Yost said.
“If they are coming in with temperature checks and washing their hands often and it’s not as crowded because of the alternating days, all those things makes me feel safer,” JT Yost added.
Students will receive their schedules in August, and they can opt out of blended learning at any time.
As Sanchez reported, for working families with multiple children in different schools, there is no solid plan to help them with child care.
“We’re going to have to figure out more in terms of child care. This is something we’re going to be building as we go along,” the mayor said. “Some parents are going to be able to make it work under current conditions. Some are going to need extra help. We’re going to work over the coming weeks to find other ways to help them.”
WATCH: Mayor, Schools Chancellor Share Update On Fall Reopening
Gov. Andrew Cuomo still needs to approve the school plan, and the United Federation of Teachers isn’t totally on board.
“We are not going to be careless with our students, their families, and our educators,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.
The principals union admits it will be difficult to enforce all the rules.
“We’re gonna do the best we can, but anyone thinks that we’ll be able to magically make sure everyone will stay away from each other, six feet at all times, that’s not realistic and that’s not going to happen,” said Mark Cannizzaro of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
Watch Alice Gainer’s report —
Meghan Moulton is a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan.
“My number one concern is about being back in the building, and is it going to be safe, even with the measures that they are proposing?” Moulton told CBS2’s Alice Gainer. “My concern is the kids keeping their masks on … I can’t tie your shoe. That’s a new one today that came to me, how am I going to tie a shoe?”
Carranza said teachers can apply for a special accommodation to only teach remotely if they don’t feel safe.
Face coverings and social distancing will be required, along with hand-washing stations and nightly cleaning protocols.
Schools are being asked to utilize large spaces, like gyms and cafeterias, and update their layouts to help people spread out.
Carranza said the DOE will provide personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
He says health and safety is their priority.
“We can make up learning for students. We cannot bring a student back who is infected and passes away,” Carranza said.
He also said he remains committed to “equity and excellence” for students during these difficult times.
“Our approach remains the same: We set a high bar for every student no matter who they are — that’s excellence — and we give every student the support they need to meet that bar. That’s equity,” he said. “We recognize and honor the significant trauma that our students, staff and city have experienced over the past several months.”
Families can find more information at http://schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020.