NY senator pushes remote learning bill: ‘City Hall has utterly failed’

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NEW YORK — A New York state senator has introduced legislation that would require municipalities and school districts, including New York City, to offer parents a remote learning option if their area meets certain CDC COVID-19 transmission criteria.

Sen. John Liu, who represents parts of Queens, joined PIX on Politics host Dan Mannarino on Sunday to discuss the bill and why it’s the best long-term solution to the constantly changing information and guidance from New York City’s Department of Education.

“City Hall has utterly failed, the DOE has been deaf to thousands of parents who are afraid to send their kids into buildings.”  

The proposed bill would force the city’s Department of Education to offer remote learning when the CDC designates an area with a high rate of COVID-19 transmission.

If the proposed bill were law as of Sunday, the entire New York City public school system would be forced to offer a remote option. The CDC’s map shows all five boroughs with a high virus transmission rate — more than 100 cases per 100,000 people.  

Currently, only medically fragile students with certain conditions are allowed a full-remote learning option.

But according to a survey commissioned by the student advocacy group Education Trust New York, 79% of New York City parents would like the option for their children to learn remotely.

Liu said his legislation would at least give parents the option of remote learning when COVID transmission is at a dangerously high level.

“And it’s just an option,” he said. “When things are not totally safe — we are not out of this crisis yet — the city is responsible for providing a remote option.”

The state Legislature does not convene again until a new session begins in January, which is when lawmakers could vote on the bill. However, Liu suggested lawmakers could be called back to Albany for an emergency session before January.

“If it requires an emergency session, I will be fighting for that,” he said.

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