Boro Prez Richards: Calls For Remote Learning Option


With the rise of the Delta Variant making the COVID-19 pandemic more and more problematic as the start of the school year approaches, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. sent a letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter asking that a remote learning option be offered to students in the City’s public schools this fall.

In his letter, Richards said, “It is my understanding there are many parents in Queens concerned the New York City Department of Education (DOE) does not have a remote option for DOE students to learn for the 2021-2022 new school year, especially in light of COVID-19 positivity numbers back on the rise.

Having a remote option would be a prudent due to the current reality we are all unfortunately confronting. Queens has some of the most overcrowded schools in the five boroughs, and it is concerning how schools can safely reopen for in- person learning. With the latest rise of the Delta Variant, there are increased concerns about children’s safety and risks of contracting the virus. According to your staff at the DOE, there have been 27,428 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases, including 14,793 students and 12,635 staff members as of August 18, 2021. It is widely known Queens has been the epicenter of the pandemic, and we in Queens are still heavily affected by the virus. We have to be cognizant of the fact that our children are dealing with very unusual circumstances and that this can have a lasting impact on them. We should be doing everything possible to make this challenging time less tumultuous, not just for the students but for their parents and caretakers as well. 

By the DOE concluding that no remote option is needed without actual parent engagement, I believe the sentiment sends the wrong message and potentially undermines the entire parent engagement process. Having a remote option is being pro-active and vital during this unprecedented time. 

In conclusion, I urge you to please provide an alternative or additional method to learning for students.

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