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Chancellor Porter and Health Commission Chokshi to provide testimony at school reopening oversight hearing

Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter
NYC Mayoral Photography Unit

New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter and New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi will testify at a City Council oversight hearing on this fall’s health and safety protocols for public school Wednesday morning. 

Councilmember Mark Treyger, who chairs the City Council’s committee on education, broke the news during an interview with PIX 11 Tuesday morning. 

The hearing, which will take place at 10 a.m. and will be co-lead by Councilmember Mark Levine, comes less than two weeks before the public school students return to classrooms on Sept. 13 and about a week after Mayor Bill de Blasio released a health and safety guidebook for this fall’s full school reopening. 

Two of the largest takeaways from the guidebook are that City will test 10% of unvaccinated students twice a month and that unvaccinated students exposed to a positive COVID-19 case will need to quarantine for 10 days. 

But many public school families and teachers still have questions ahead of the school year over. Some lingering questions concern testing frequency and how students in quarantine will learn given de Blasio’s staunch opposition to offering a remote option to any student that is not medically fragile. 

“We really feel we’ve answered a very, very broad range of questions and we also know that there are still a few things that we are still working on, particularly with our labor partners,” said de Blasio Tuesday morning. “ But I expect the hearing to be a lot of strong questions that are coming from parents and communities and we are ready to answer them.”

When the Department of Education released the 13-page-long health and safety guidebook, de Blasio admitted that some protocols had yet to be ironed out due to ongoing discussions with the city’s unions, most importantly, the city’s teacher union, the United Federation of Teachers.

“There’s a lot of material in here and there’s a lot of references to other more detailed material online,” said de Blasio about the guidebook, six pages of which contain fall health and safety protocols. “We are going to be adding updates in the coming weeks.” 

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