Schools Chancellor David Banks is negotiating a remote learning option for city students as the Department of Education continues to grapple with low student attendance.
Banks told members of the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council on Thursday that “political pressure” and other concerns have prodded a reconsideration of remote learning.
Mayor Eric Adams just this week told lawmakers that a remote option would likely not be tenable before the end of the school year.
But Banks said Thursday that the timetable has been moved up and that he wants to create a distance learning format that will “take us at the very least to the end of the school year.”
Teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew told Good Day New York Thursday that Adams was now considering a remote learning option for the current academic year due to ongoing student absenteeism.
“We’ve called for a remote learning program since September, and we believe we need to do this,” Mulgrew said. “I think Mayor Adams is really thinking it through, because it is just the fact there’s over 200,000 children who haven’t been in school for over two weeks.”
Student attendance in the nation’s largest school system has plunged in recent weeks with daily absentee rates of more than 20 percent due, in part, to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Mulgrew said the sheer number of missing kids could shift the mayor’s position on a remote learning option.
“We have to make sure we are getting to all of the children because the learning loss we’ve seen already because of this pandemic is quite large,” Mulgrew said. “And that’s why we want our children there.”
Adams had staunchly opposed remote learning, repeatedly arguing that schools are safe and that kids suffer when not in classrooms for extended periods. He said as recently as Wednesday that a remote option was unlikely this year.
Schools Chancellor David Banks told The Post last week that he expected attendance to normalize in the coming weeks once the current coronavirus spike hits its peak.
City Hall did not immediately comment on Mulgrew’s statements.
The labor boss added that parents should not necessarily rely on a remote option if it does emerge and that classroom learning remains preferable.
“So, for parents, I’m going to ask again please if we have this option use it judiciously,” he said.
The mass absences coincide with increasing student COVID-19 cases in city schools.
Roughly 6,500 DOE students tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, according to the DOE.