Eric Adams says he is considering reinstating remote learning despite COVID cases in NYC plateauing

New York City’s new mayor announced on Thursday that he is considering allowing the nation’s largest school district to return to some form of virtual instruction – even as COVID cases in the Big Apple start to plateau. 

Eric Adams, who took office on New Year’s, said on Thursday he is ‘working closely with the president of the UFT’ to ‘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,’ he said, much to the shock of many New York City parents.

But, he added, he aims to keep children in school, as he has previously stated.

‘I want children in school because it’s not only the academics,’ Adams said. ‘You hear me say it al the time, it is the holistic approach [to] the full development of the personhood of the children.

‘All the experts state they should be in school now.’ 

According to New York City COVID data, there were 33,205 new cases reported throughout the five boroughs on Thursday – a 43 percent decrease from the week before. 

And in the week ending January 8, just 30.78 percent of kids up to four years old tested positive for COVID, 24.5 percent of five- to 12-year-olds tested positive, and 28.67 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds tested positive. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday announced that he is considering reimplementing a remote learning option

The announcement, though, comes as COVID cases are starting to fall in the city

The announcement, though, comes as COVID cases are starting to fall in the city

Adams has previously claimed he would not shutter schools, even telling Anderson Cooper on Friday that implementing remote learning to slow the spread of COVID did not make sense to him because virtual lessons were not effective.

He noted that it also negatively impacted children with proper access to Wi-Fi and technology.

‘The last time we did a remote option, children were not learning, and you can’t have a false remote option,’ he told Anderson Cooper, according to CNN.

‘We can’t continue to hurt the education of our children.’

His announcement that the city may return to remote learning on Thursday sparked some outrage by parents.

Following the news, Stephania tweeted: ‘Remote learning is a joke and council members should be voted out,’ while Denise Pelkey said she would rather the city implement a blended teaching model, saying she liked sending her kids to school.

Dee Smalls, meanwhile, said remote learning is ‘a disservice to the kids,’ as she urged the mayor to find a way to keep kids in school.

Francesco Fadda also tweeted: ‘Please keep the schools open. Remote (not) learning is not a good option for kids!! And not only for academic consideration but for their mental health and emotional skills. School environments are much safer than many other places.’

A poll of nearly 1,000 educators last year found that more than 97 percent reported seeing some learning loss in their students over the 2020 – 2021 school year when compared to previous years, and 57 percent estimated their students are behind by more than three months in their social-emotional progress, according to CNBC.

And children who do get sick with COVID are less likely to get severe symptoms, with a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealing that children have represented just zero to 0.027 percent of all COVID-related deaths in the United States, with a total of 803 American children dying of COVID over the last two years.

That is less than the number of total deaths from both the flu and a respiratory syncytial virus in a normal year.

The study also found that among the 24 states reporting their data, 0.1 percent to 1.6 percent of all their child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization. 

Adams has previously slammed remote learning saying the lessons were not effective. A high school senior is seen here taking her Advanced Placement Calculus class remotely in August 2020 in Los Angeles

Adams has previously slammed remote learning saying the lessons were not effective. A high school senior is seen here taking her Advanced Placement Calculus class remotely in August 2020 in Los Angeles

Following the mayor's announcement, parents took to social media to express their displeasure with remote learning

Following the mayor’s announcement, parents took to social media to express their displeasure with remote learning

But since Adams took office, Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers union representing the city’s public school teachers, has been asking the mayor to postpone in-person learning amid the Omicron surge.

The issue was compounded on Tuesday by students walking out of several schools, including Brooklyn Tech and Bronx High School of Science saying they want more COVID-19 tests for students and staff as well as an option for remote learning.

Following the city-wide demonstration, New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks told NN he plans to meet with some of the student leaders who walked out.

‘I certainly appreciate any time students raise their voice to be heard,’ he said. ‘I understand and I empathize with where they are, but I think we also are very focused on making sure we keep schools open.’ 

The city´s school system was one of the first to return to in-person instruction after the pandemic hit in 2020 and schools closed in March for the rest of the year. They started a hybrid plan in the fall of 2020, with most students inside school a few days a week and at home learning online the rest of the time.

New York City students returned to full-time in-person instruction this past fall, and the city school system is now conducting in-school PCR tests and handing out rapid tests to students.

But attendance levels since students returned from winter break have been lower than usual, with anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of students not showing up to class most days. 

As of Wednesday, attendance district-wide was 76 percent, according to city Department of Education numbers. In a district of nearly a million students, that means about 220,000 were either out sick or otherwise missing school.

More than 100 schools reported attendance of less than 60 percent, and more than 50 reported less than half of all students attending class Wednesday.

The mayor's announcement comes after teachers and students demanded increased COVID-19 safety measures and a remote learning option

The mayor’s announcement comes after teachers and students demanded increased COVID-19 safety measures and a remote learning option

Students are seen here walking out in protest of the district's COVID policies on Tuesday

Students are seen here walking out in protest of the district’s COVID policies on Tuesday

The walkout extended to all five boroughs of New York City

The walkout extended to all five boroughs of New York City

Still, the mayor stressed on Thursday that the city would not see a dispute like that in Chicago, where the nation’s third-largest school district canceled five days of classes because of a disagreement with the teachers’ union over COVID-19 safety protocols.

‘This is not Chicago,’ Adams said. ‘We can resolve this. We can get through these crises and we will find the right way to educate our children in a very safe environment.’

He did not offer details about what a remote option might look like. Messages left with the teachers union and the city’s Department of Education were not immediately returned.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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