By Reuven Fenton, Lorena Mongelli and Julia Marsh
Parents and political leaders on Monday ripped Mayor de Blasio’s coronavirus school regulations — both for its lack of a remote option this fall and a requirement that students wear masks.
A dozen public school parents gathered outside the United Federation of Teachers headquarters in lower Manhattan Monday with signs reading, “Pick A Better Science Project” and “We Heart Our Children, Bronx Families Need A Remote Option.”
Amy Tsai has five kids in public schools, including four at P.S./M.S. 280 Mosholu Parkway in The Bronx and one at Bronx High School for the Visual Arts. She has a husband and son who are immunocompromised.
“We need to have a remote option because we are still in COVID,” Tsai told The Post at the rally.
“We have not finished COVID and we have not finished the challenges from our system failing us. We are scared that we will come back to COVID again and there may be a loss in my family,” she said.
De Blasio has said all students must return to classrooms in September. UFT President Michael Mulgrew backs the policy, saying it’s supported by his teacher members. Both agree that students learn better in person.
Reps for the DOE and the UFT stood firm on their position.
“Our multi-layered approach to safety has made schools among the safest places to be in the city, and schools are inviting families to open houses this summer so they can see these measures in place firsthand,” said DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer.
“There is no substitute for in-person instruction,” added a UFT rep.
“NYC educators want their students physically in front of them this fall. We are working with city and state officials and our own independent medical experts on what needs to be done to open schools safely in September,” the rep said.
Across New York Harbor at P.S. 32 in Great Kills, Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore) and former congressman Vito Fossella, who is running for borough president, joined local parents to call on the city’s Department of Education to drop the mask mandate for school students.
They cited recent CDC guidance that says fully vaccinated kids don’t need to cover up their faces.
“There are children playing basketball in gyms in camps, there are children doing arts and crafts in school buildings without masks but come September 13 the same scenario is somehow unsafe in schools? It doesn’t pass the smell test,” Borelli said Friday.
De Blasio has said he’s requiring kids to cover their faces in schools out of an abundance of caution, despite the CDC’s latest guidance that vaccinated kids and teachers can go mask-free.
Last week a group of fed-up parents also called on de Blasio to reverse the rule. Parents told The Post they were considering homeschooling or private schools if the mandate stayed in place because the masks made it harder for teachers and classmates to understand their kids.
The mayor has also said his stance could change before September.
However, he announced an escalation in the city’s fight to combat the new Delta variant of the coronavirus Monday by requiring all municipal employees to get vaccinated or tested weekly.