NEW YORK CITY — A group of parents is suing New York City, demanding a full reopening of school buildings.
City Councilman Joe Borelli, of Staten Island, spearheaded the action Wednesday with a group of parents who argue the damage caused to students from remote learning is irreversible.
Their goal is to end remote learning and give children the option to be in school five days a week if they choose to do so.
Borelli cited staff issues at Wagner and Tottenville high schools that have kids in classrooms learning virtually, saying that type of teaching is “insane.”
Parents are questioning if remote learning even satisfies state criteria for a basic education in New York.
However, teachers like Annie Chan, who works at a Sunset Park school in a yellow coronavirus cluster zone, question how safe fully reopening buildings would be with only 20% of student COVID-19 testing consent forms signed and returned to the Department of Education.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said a plan for weekly COVID-19 testing in yellow-zone schools is being held up by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A spokesperson for the DOE called the lawsuit a distraction.
“This is a petty distraction from real news: the nation’s largest school system is open for in-person learning, and students in every grade are receiving high-quality instruction five days a week, the spokesperson said in a statement. “The percent of positive tests at schools has been very low, and our safety protocols are specifically designed to continue to keep the risk at bay and to align with guidance issued by federal, state and local health experts. We will review the suit.”