NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has staunchly resisted calls for a remote learning option this school year, but two weeks into the semester and some students considered “medically fragile” are already falling behind.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman sat down with one family in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.READ MORE: Human Remains Found In California Identified As Missing New Jersey Woman Lauren Cho
“I want a proper education,” 10-year-old August Huete said.
August misses his school, Public School 216 in Brooklyn.
Because of underlying medical issues, the fifth grader is one of hundreds of public school students in New York City medically exempt from in-person instruction this year.
“He has asthma and overactive immune system disorder,” mother Jennifer Goddard said.
Without a remote learning option this school year, the city offers kids like August a “medically necessary instruction” program — essentially, a remote tutor.
“We logged on at 10 o’clock, ended at 11:15. Not the most education,” August said.
The program is only one hour of lessons per day, five days a week.
“One hour per day is not an education,” Goddard said.
“Are you worried about a learning loss?” Bauman asked.READ MORE: More Than $10,000 Worth Of Handbags Stolen From Christian Louboutin Store In Manhattan
“Yes,” Goddard said.
“Absolutely. If we want to keep our son safe and alive and out of a hospital, we have to sacrifice his education,” father Andre Huete said.
August’s parents say the school suggested he could apply for in-person medically necessary instruction, in which the Department of Education would send a teacher to their home for lessons each day, but his parents say that defeats the entire purpose of keeping him home.
“The job that these teachers are doing virtually, there’s no reason why he can’t also do a full day,” Goddard said.
“Now we have a significant number of school children in New York City who are falling behind because they’re not getting any instruction,” State Sen. John C. Liu said.
Liu is sponsoring a bill that would force the nation’s largest school system to offer a full remote option until the COVID transmission rate declines.
“In all likelihood, would not begin session again until January, so this is a long-term solution,” he said.
In the meantime, August makes his own lesson plans, but it’s hardly a curriculum.
“We’re gonna continue what we’re doing as best we can and make sure he’s getting some form of reading … but we’re just incredibly disheartened and disappointed that this is the best they can do,” Huete said.
The DOE did not answer CBS2’s questions about learning loss, instead simply stating the program “provides our immunocompromised students with high-quality education and support.”MORE NEWS: Student, 14, Arrested With Loaded Handgun At Brooklyn High School
While elementary school students in the program have five hours of lessons per week, the DOE says middle and high school students get 10 hours per week.