New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday that the city’s schools will not be fully open until a vaccine is available. He also stated that a decision on even a partial reopening wouldn’t happen until at least September, making a limited return to class then highly unlikely.
The move would constitute the most aggressive step yet the city has taken in preventing students from returning to normal classes. It comes in sharp contrast to plans from de Blasio just two weeks ago when the mayor previously promised a schedule wherein schools would be open for the fall, with parents deciding whether their children should be taught in person or virtually.
The original plan was in line with public opinion. A Department of Education poll of 400,000 parents in the city found that 75 percent support a partial or full reopening of the schools. Yet, without a hard decision until September, the time needed to prepare for such a late decision will make his previous commitment all but impossible. A vaccine will likely take at least a year before it is widely available, meaning a full reopening is essentially off the table for the 2020/21 school year.
DeBlasio’s decsion, which will impact more than 1.1. million students in NYC’s education system, comes despite recent flattening of the number of deaths and cases in New York City.
The move came directly after the NYC Teachers Union declared on Tuesday that it is willing to fight if reopening action is taken that they do not like.
“All I am going to say on this call is that I am preparing for what to do if they do that,” the Union boss stated. According to the Post, methods being discussed include court action, protests, and other unstated steps.