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UFT president discusses blended learning opt-in deadline, concerns of school closures amid COVID spike

Posted at 8:49 AM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 08:49:38-05

NEW YORK CITY — Nearly two dozen public schools in Brooklyn reopened their doors Thursday after being removed from the red zone COVID-19 clusters despite a rise in the number of cases across New York City.

The average positivity test rate for the city is inching closer to 3%, which would require all schools to close.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, has praised the city for safely getting students back into the classroom, but said teachers are concerned and bracing for a new wave of students as parents with fully remote students can opt-in for blended learning.

Mulgrew said teachers have gotten used to the back and forth of closing and reopening, but they are more concerned over the growing positivity rate across the city.

“We're able to keep our schools safe,” but if the community continues to see an increase in COVID-19, schools will have to close, according to the teachers union president.

Regarding the Nov. 15 deadline for parents to opt their children into blended learning, Mulgrew did not agree with the mayor by having just one opt-in period rather than the originally proposed three opt-in periods.

For parents who do want their children to participate in blended learning, Mulgrew said they must come to school on their designated dates.

Mulgrew also said hiring thousands of new teachers and licensed staff alleviated problems, but there are still some challenges.