New York City mayor considers temporary distance learning option after calling it ineffective last week

“I am working closely with the president of the UFT. And we will find the right way to raise our children in a very safe environment and if we can introduce a temporary remote option, we are welcome to do that”, said Adams during a press conference.

He added that while he is willing to talk to teachers’ union leaders about a distance learning option, his goal remains to keep children in school.

“I want kids in school because it’s not just the academics. You hear me say it all the time, it’s the holistic approach to the full development of the kids’ personality. All the experts say they should be in school, said Adams.

The comments contrasted sharply with what the mayor told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Friday, when he said a distance learning option to slow the current spread of Covid-19 in the city made no sense to him, mainly because virtual classes earlier in the pandemic were ineffective. He added that it negatively impacted children without proper access to Wi-Fi and technology, and that it would take time to build.

“The last time we did an outside option, kids weren’t learning, and you can’t have a false outside option… We can’t keep hurting our kids’ education,” Adams had said last Friday.

Some major school districts are switching to distance learning due to staff shortages and the spread of Omicron

About 7.6% of students in New York City have tested positive for Covid-19, according to sample tests from the New York City Department of Education released Thursday. The testing, which includes only about 23% of city schools, is a sample snapshot taken Wednesday, according to the data, over a 24-hour period.

According to the same data, only about 77% of students reported to school on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, students left several schools, including Brooklyn Tech High School and Bronx High School of Science, saying they wanted more Covid-19 testing for students and staff, as well as a distance learning option. Brooklyn Tech is the largest personal high school in the country with nearly 6,000 students, according to the city’s education department.

New York City Schools chancellor David Banks told CNN he plans to meet with some of the student leaders who ran away.

“I certainly appreciate when students raise their voices to be heard…I understand and I sympathize with where they are, but I think we’re also very focused on making sure we keep schools open” Banks told CNN on Wednesday.

The school system has been conducting PCR testing at school and issuing rapid tests to students since classes resumed, according to the New York City Department of Education.

Mirna Alsharif, Laura Ly, Elizabeth Stuart, Kristina Sgueglia and David Shortell of CNN contributed to this report

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