NY senator pushes remote learning bill: ‘City Hall has utterly failed’

Classroom Progress Report

NEW YORK (PIX11) — A New York state senator introduced legislation that requires municipalities and school districts to offer a remote learning option if their area meets certain COVID transmission criteria from the CDC

Sen. John Liu, who represents parts of Queens, says the bill is the best long-term solution to the constantly changing information and guidance from New York City’s Department of Education. “City Hall has utterly failed,” he said on Sunday night. “The Department of Education (DOE) has been deaf to thousands of parents who are afraid to send their kids into buildings.”

The proposed bill would force the city’s DOE to offer remote learning within an area if the CDC deems it as a high rate of transmission area. If the proposed bill were already enshrined in law to start this week, the entire New York City public school system would be forced to offer a remote option. The CDC’s map shows all five boroughs with a high virus transmission rate—more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Currently, only medically fragile students with certain conditions are allowed a full-remote learning option. But according to a survey commissioned by the student advocacy group Education Trust New York, 79% of New York City parents would like the option for their children to learn remotely.

Liu said his legislation would at least give parents the option of remote learning when COVID transmission is at a dangerously high level. “It’s just an option,” he said. “When things are not totally safe—we are not out of this crisis yet—the city is responsible for providing a remote option.”

The state Legislature does not convene again until a new session begins in January, which is when lawmakers could vote on the bill. However, he suggested lawmakers could be called back to Albany for an emergency session before January. “If it requires an emergency session,” Sen. Liu says, “I will be fighting for that.”

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