NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — School buses will be available for New York City students when they return for in-person learning on Sept. 21.
“One of the big questions that’s been out there is school bus service — how we bring it back. Today, we announce that school bus service will be back and will be available to all children who need it,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
While buses might be ready to roll, the United Federation of Teachers said a lot still needs to be done to get the buildings ready.
Teachers, staff and union leaders gathered outside a Brooklyn school Wednesday to raise a red flag about conditions.
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Many walked out of that building, and others, Tuesday, because they said the facilities were not properly cleaned and did not meet the safety standards.
“This is why we fought so hard to push back the start of school,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Does anyone here think that school was ready to start tomorrow? Anyone? On the safety issues? No?”
Union leaders said some of the issues were addressed overnight, but plans still need to be put in place for how children will enter and exit the buildings and how personal protective equipment (PPE) will be distributed.
“Our District 75 students and staff members deserve the best, and we are taking immediate action to address any health and safety concerns, including in State-run facilities where we provide education,” the Department of Education told CBS2 in a statement. “We will continue to work in close partnership with schools and with labor to identify needs and quickly respond so that every school is ready for their first day of in-person instruction on the 21st.”
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During his daily briefing, de Blasio said buses will be able to accommodate 100,000 students on the first day of school.
The city has contracted 60 companies to provide nearly 6,000 special education routes and 2,500 general education routes.
“There will be mandatory masks for everyone — adults and children alike — on the buses. That means there will be social distancing. That means there will be windows open and nightly cleaning,” he said. “Every bus company will be provided with the PPE they need. We’re starting with a supply of 300,000 masks, 10,000 face shields, 30,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and electrostatic sprayers for every bus garage.”
Families will be notified about their bus routes by the end of the week.
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