Watch CBS News

NYC DOE, Teachers Union Reach Agreement On Guidelines For Upcoming School Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio insists New York City public schools will be ready to reopen for the first day of class on Sept. 10.

Meanwhile, other elected officials are calling for in-person learning to be postponed.

De Blasio responded to criticism Thursday, saying most parents want their kids back in school.

"Honestly, I respect my fellow elected officials, I truly do. I listen to them, I work with them. But if all of them say one thing, but the majority of parents say another thing, I'm with the parents," he said. "It's their children. We are here to serve them and their children. Those are the voices who matter."

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio's Latest Briefing On Schools Reopening 

School Construction Authority Commissioner Lorraine Grillo said the newly formed School Ventilation Action Teams already completed 370 inspects and had another 247 scheduled Thursday.

She said the final reports from 99 buildings showed 92% of the rooms were fine, and 8% had small issues, like windows nailed shut, that can be fixed by the first day.

Earlier this week, the city said the inspections will be done by Sept. 1 and the findings will be made publicly available by Sept. 4.

Complete Coverage: Schools: The New Normal

Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen also joined the mayor's briefing to announce an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers for the upcoming school year.

"The guidance provides clarity to our principals for how to program teachers and students in all modes of instruction - blended or remote - and it delivers on our promise to families: Consistency and support in the learning experience every day, no matter where a student is learning from."

The agreement outlines things like how many hours a day students will receive so-called "live" instruction and how teachers will collaborate to cover both in-person and online classes.

Click here for a closer look at the guidance.

Under the agreement, fully remote students will have live instruction every day, and blended learning students will have an in-person teacher and a remote teacher who will work as a team.

"There will be planning time every day for teachers, 30 minutes at the start of the day to work out the team approach for that day," de Blasio said.

Teacher Sarah Kuhner will be welcoming her seventh grade students at MS 324 in Washington Heights in just two weeks.

"I'm really nervous. And I'm really perplexed and a little upset at how we're gonna do as much as needs to get done with the little amount of time that we have," she told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.

Kuhner says forward-thinking administrators at MS 324 had already delegated her to teach in person while her co-teacher takes on virtual.

But that's not the case for all the teachers at her school.

She, like other educators who are speaking out, are concerned about what will happen to schools that are already short-staffed.

"We literally don't have enough staff to do all the things and all of the teaching in all of the different ways, remote and in-person, that we need," Kuhner said.

"We need the mayor, we need the chancellor to listen to the people on the ground that are saying that this is not safe and we need to delay," MS 839 Principal Michael Perlberg said.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams joined educators and parents pushing for a delay as school safety inspections continue and questions remain unanswered.

"It is remarkable that two weeks out, we don't have answers about busing. We don't have answers fully about testing. People are waiting for these questions to be answered two weeks out," he said.

"The one thing that teachers really just want to know is, is this going to be safe," Kuhner said.

Teachers will be meeting this Saturday to discuss their demands for testing and delaying the start of school.

Some educators say if their demands are not met, they will be ready to strike.

You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.