NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday he is considering a remote learning option for New York City schools.

He said his administration is working with the United Federation of Teachers to finalize a plan.

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“We can resolve this. We can get through this crisis. We will find the right way to educate our children in a very safe environment, and if we’re able to put in place a temporary remote option, we’re welcome to do so with the partnership of my good friend Michael Mulgrew,” he said Thursday.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

During a meeting Thursday with the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, Schools Chancellor David Banks said, in part, “If I could figure out a way to do a remote option starting tomorrow, I would. It’s not quite as simple as that because you have to negotiate this stuff with the unions. … My goal is to create an option that will take us at the very least to the end of the school year. Not just for two weeks or something, because it’s not an easy thing to just roll out a remote option.”

Adams once again reiterated schools remain the safest place for students, but acknowledged some families have concerns. The Department of Education reported 76% of students attended school on Wednesday, with one school as low as 41%. However, the agency acknowledged those numbers were only preliminary.

Thursday, attendance numbers were at 77% with one school as low as 44%, meaning roughly a quarter of a million students are missing school.

“We do have to be honest that there’s a substantial number of children, for whatever reason, parents are not bringing them to school. I have to make sure our children are educated,” Adams said.

Students staged a walk out of Brooklyn Technical High School on Tuesday over concerns about COVID.

Sources told CBS2’s Dick Brennan that Banks, UFT President Mulgrew, and officials from City Hall were meeting on the matter on Thursday afternoon.

In a statement, Mulgrew said, “We have long called for an instructionally sound remote option and have been speaking directly to the mayor about creating one, a program that will work for students.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Parents are split over whether they need a remote option for school.

“At least until we can get things under control in the next few weeks, I thinks it’s a good idea for a temporary decision,” Johan Narbaez said.

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“My kids are going in and their classmates are going in, and so we prefer to keep them in the classroom,” one parent said.

“I’d rather have them home than send them to school. I feel more safe that way,” parent Larry Stafa said.

Vonette Godfrey said her son has a heart condition and she’d feel much better if he wasn’t in class.

“I want my son to stay home for the moment, until they have another alternative about this COVID,” Godfrey said.

But others said it’s not good for the kids.

“Remote learning doesn’t really work. The kids get less of an education than if they went to the school,” Lowell Hoxie said.

Kids themselves seem to agree.

“I like the feeling over learning over there in school, and I just didn’t appreciate what it was doing for us back online,” second grader Ioan O’Brien said.

“In person, I could just walk up to my teacher, tap on her shoulder and say, ‘I don’t understand this,’ but in Zoom, I can’t do that,” third grader Eliza Richardson said.

Nonetheless, the schools chancellor feels online is better than nothing at all for kids who aren’t coming in.

But some parents say there is one way to quickly make things safer for everyone.

“My two kids that are both 5, I vaccinated both of them and I’m very happy. My kid was actually positive, and I’m glad that now he’s vaccinated. I feel safer to send him to school,” parent Reyna Hammodi said.

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If a plan is agreed upon, it’s not clear when it could be rolled out. Banks said it’s all in the details.

Dick Brennan