De Blasio Says Schools May Be Ready by Sept. as Teacher's Union Hatches New Plan

The mayor said that he can see city schools reopening in time for the next academic year to start come September, but the head of the teacher's union said alternative plans are still being considered

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As different parts of New York state get ready to restart parts of their economy, New York City remains pretty far away from any dreams of a full reopening. But that hasn't stopped Mayor Bill de Blasio from setting goals that are still months away.

On Monday, the mayor said that he can see city schools reopening in time for the next academic year to start come September.

"As of this moment I think schools can open in September, but keeping a close eye on it," de Blasio said. The mayor addressed the issue on Tuesday as well, saying the city has "a fair amount of time — we're talking about most of four months — before school opening."

One month ago, de Blasio said something along the same lines regarding schools opening in the fall, as he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo sparred over how long schools would be closed for (and who had the power to make that kind of decision.)

Region by Region Status

Source: New York State; Report as of May 18

However, the head of the teacher's union wasn't exactly on the same page, flatly stating that "we are not ready."

Mike Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, did tell NBC New York that there were an array of scenarios under consideration for the fall, including a "staggered attendance" option. That would involve all NYC public school children — all 1.1 million of them — essentially alternating days in school and learning from home.

For example, some students would attend classes at school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and others would attend Tuesday and Thursday.

"We are looking at that very closely as a good option," Mulgrew said, adding on Tuesday that if that solution is chosen, teachers and schools would "need to know in the next two or three weeks."

De Blasio said he was considering the staggered schedule option.

Before schools can even consider reopening though, the state needs to get better control over the COVID-19 outbreak that has shuttered the state for two months. Gov. Cuomo said Monday the statewide shutdown will end when his "PAUSE" order expires May 15. A number of regions have met his requirements to begin reopening Friday, while others are on the cusp.

In addition to the coronavirus fears, there are now concerns for children regarding a rare COVID-related illness that has killed five children in the state, and afflicted nearly 100 more.

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