State of Our Schools: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams discusses return to remote learning
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams spoke to News 12 Friday morning about how the pandemic continues to impact public schools that have now returned to remote learning.
Williams said the main issue was the leadership, "or lack thereof," in implementing a contingency plan for schools, given the fact that the coronavirus rate in schools is lower compared to that of the city.
Williams questioned why it was decided to open a school system that would continue to be impacted by the virus without a proper plan.
He said all the plans that were proposed before the school year were ignored.
"How can you give parents 17 hours notice that they're going to need child care without even a proper plan of how we're going to make sure the 60,000 kids who don't have devices get them that folks who need wi-fi have it, and a proper plan of how and when we're going to reopen?" Williams asked. He added the lack of a plan is a "tremendous failure" in the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
When asked what he would have done differently, Williams said he and the Chair of Education Committee Mark Treyger had laid out a plan back in July that would focus on energy and remote learning because those were parts of everyone else's plan. He said the plan focused on a phased-in approach that focused on children who needed more assistance, kids with disabilities and kids whose parents have to go to work, and not just the essential workers.
The plan also called for the reopening recreational centers, which Williams said were effective back in the spring.
He said the phased-in reopening plan would have been effective if the schools were to shut down again.
Williams said a similar plan was recommended but the de Blasio administration was more focused on reopening an entire system which had not been done in the entire country.
Williams said he and others knew the sudden closing would not work and that it would be traumatic to both parents and their kids because of the uncertainty of where they were going to have instruction.