As the coronavirus’ delta variant continues to spread across the state, some families are growing increasingly worried about sending their children back into public school classrooms and have some calling for a remote option to be offered this fall.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter have pledged to fully reopen schools without remote learning.
Although the Department of Education is considering offering a remote option for students with immunocompromised family members, the New York Post reported, some families and now some elected officials are urging City officials to expand that option. Here is a list of which elected officials so far support offering a remote option for students this upcoming school year:
Brooklyn City Councilmember Mark Treyger
The city council member and former teacher, who also chairs the City Council’s education committee, tweeted in mid-July that children who could not yet get vaccinated, those under the age of 12, or who are immunocompromised should be given the option to take their classes remotely this fall.
DOE should offer a fall remote option for kids not of vaccination age and have it run by central rather than by individual schools. I support 5 days a week in person instruction for all, but we need to follow science and adjust accordingly while providing flexibility for families
— Mark Treyger 🍎 (@MarkTreyger718) July 19, 2021
The option should be run centrally, in contrast to last year when every school was responsible for designing and rolling out their own remote option for students.
I stand by my call for a remote option in the fall for kids who are not of vaccination age & immunocompromised students, which should be administered centrally. Waiting to see what happens is not a plan. It’s almost August & contingency plans shouldn’t fall on individual schools.
— Mark Treyger 🍎 (@MarkTreyger718) July 28, 2021
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
The outgoing borough president sent a letter to Chancellor Porter requesting that she reconsider the City’s decision to do away with remote learning this year. The letter was also sent to all of Brewer’s fellow borough presidents and the city’s executive superintendents.
“The option may be needed for the entire school year. However, having an option in place for at least the first half of the year is a prudent response to family and community requests,” Brewer wrote.” In addition, we are in a different place in the battle against COVID-19 than we were when it was first announced that there would be no remote option for the upcoming school year.”
I am calling on Chancellor Porter and the NYC DOE to offer children and families a remote learning option for the 2021-2022 academic year. https://t.co/TURyMBt4CK
— Gale A. Brewer (@galeabrewer) August 6, 2021
Congressmember Jamaal Bowman
The freshman U.S. Rep, and former middle school teacher, now represents New York’s 16th congressional district which covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. Bowman expressed support for a remote option this fall to Bronx parents and members of the group The Bronx Parent Advocacy Group, late Tuesday, Aug. 10. during an online roundtable discussion about school reopening.
“When you have high community transmission of COVID, which the Bronx has, it’s advised to have a remote option,” Bowman told members during the Zoom meeting. “So, that is something I do support and it’s something I hope the City will come around on.”
Congressmember Ritchie Torres
During a meeting late Wednesday, Aug. 11 with members of the Bronx Parent Leader Advocacy Group, the freshman congressmember representing New York’s 15th congressional district said he supported the “right of parents to pursue remote learning.”
“No one cares more about the health and safety of children more than parents do and if you conclude the best model for your child is remote learning rather than in-person instruction then the DOE and the mayor should respect that decision,” Torres said. ” Please consider me a partner in advocating for a flexible hybrid model.”
Brooklyn City Councilmember Justin Brannan
Brannan, who represents the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, joined the small but growing chorus of New York City electeds urging the mayor to offer public school children a remote option on Saturday, Aug. 14.
While I appreciate that the mayor has been focused on getting everyone back to school, in-person, safely, and back to normal, it doesn't make sense that the mayor would be so adamantly opposed to even *considering* a remote option for those families that may prefer it.
— Justin Brannan (@JustinBrannan) August 14, 2021
We are still in the middle of a global pandemic and extreme caution must always be the #1 priority when it comes to our kids and those we entrust with their care. This is – or at least should be – non-negotiable. I believe families should have a remote option.
— Justin Brannan (@JustinBrannan) August 14, 2021
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi
The senator, who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, came out in support of a remote option three weeks before the start of classes for New York City public school children.
Remote school sld remain an option for families that need to make that decision.
Yes, it’s ideal to be in person to learn. I don’t believe that any parent would make the good faith argument otherwise. But, no, not everyone feels safe doing so and we need to take that seriously.
— Alessandra Biaggi (@Biaggi4NY) August 23, 2021
Updated Aug. 12, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. to reflect Bowman and Torres’ support for a remote option this fall.
Updated Aug. 14, 2021 at 7:53 p.m. to included Councilmember Justin Brannan’s comments in support of a remote option for public school students this fall.