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Staffing still an urgent problem at NYC schools with 1st day looming

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 22:26:56-04

NEW YORK CITY — A last-minute change left New York City school teachers confused Wednesday as an all-remote student orientation began for public school students.

Schools will not be required to have live instruction for blended learning students on their remote days, even after the Department of Education promised interaction with students. The change is meant to alleviate staffing issues. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said they would be open with parents about everything going on.

"Our goal has always been synchronous instruction every single day, but as we look at the first day and know that we're working through some of these staffing challenges, we're being honest with the public, nobody's hiding anything here," Carranza said. "So, you're almost darned if you do and darned if you don't."

Special needs teacher Annie Tan said she didn't feel prepared for parents or students.

"I still don’t have a schedule, so when a parents asked me today what’s the schedule, I could not give her an answer," Tan said.

Staffing is still an urgent problem, according to the union representing principals. They're concerned about having enough teachers when schools reopen for in-person learning on Sept. 21.

With less than a week to go before the first day of in-person class, New York City public schools have 42 percent of students signed up for remote learning.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he's not willing to delay the first day again.

"We are starting on Monday," he said. "It will not be a perfect start. We will making a lot of adjustments as the weeks begin to continue to improve things."

One issue arose Wednesday. There was no internet at PS 177 in Brooklyn. Teachers were moved down the street to the parking lot of IS-06 for Wi-fi.

Tan's Sunset Park school doesn't have enough supplies, teachers or PPE, she said.

"The reason I am wearing this mask right now is because I haven’t received any PPE at my school since last Tuesday," Tan said.