NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ Statement on the NYC Schools Re-Opening Framework
“The framework that the Mayor is now pursuing to re-open schools includes many elements that I and others have said for many months would be essential for a re-opening that is guided by science and framed in justice and equity. A phased-in approach beginning with younger students and students most in need, paired with a large increase in testing has always been essential to the goal we share of safely returning students to the classroom- but we can neither prioritize a schedule over safety, nor wait for the Mayor to come to the right conclusions at the wrong moments in time. As a second wave rises and much remains unknown about the specifics and scope of this re-opening, I would seek clarity and urge caution.
“With cases and uncertainty rising, this is not the time to overextend our resources and expand risk. I do not want the city to go too far, too fast, and potentially lead to further spread of the virus and further trauma-inflicting changes to the system. As testing increases, so too must transparency about how localized data and trends inform both this framework and its inevitable updates. Students, parents, teachers and administrators need clear guidance, increased resources, and tenable plans that they have too often been denied. This includes the hundreds of thousands of students who will remain fully remote, and still need more information and resources. A safe, equitable, effective education should be the right of all of New York City’s students, regardless of whether they are comfortable or able to return to school buildings.”