New York City plans to move ahead with its blended learning approach for all public school children in the fall — if its approved by the state, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.
During a coronavirus briefing, the mayor responded to reports that Israel is readjusting its fall reopening plan to allow students between kindergarten through fourth grade to return to the classroom full time, while students in higher grades learn from home.
The decision was reportedly tied to medical evidence suggesting children under 10 rarely spread COVID-19.
De Blasio said he has read those reports, but noted that New York City has a very different set of circumstances than Israel.
“We will look at any and all options, but we’re very careful and cautious here. We were the place that was the epicenter,” the mayor said. “Thank God we’ve made a lot of progress. We’re not going to let it slip away.”
De Blasio also said Israel doesn’t have the same level of density as New York City.
“So I think our approach would be particularly cautious and we also have just a space reality in schools to think about,” the mayor added. “I would say that’s not on the front-burner right now. We’re going to see how things go and see how we evolve over time, but right now, the blended learning approach that we’ve described is Plan A.”
The city Department of Education is submitting to the state a fall reopening plan that features blended learning, a mix of in-person and remote education for students in the next academic year.
State officials are expected to make individualized decisions on whether school districts can reopen in the first week of August.
Whether a school district can reopen will be based on a state formula that considers several factors, including if the region is in Phase 4 and if the daily infection rate remains below 5% over a 14-day average, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The governor also said schools will close if the regional infection rate becomes greater than 9% using a seven-day average after Aug. 1.
PIX11’s Kristine Garcia and Mark Sundstrom contributed to this report.