Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza, Council President Johnson, Education Committee-Chair Councilmember Treyger, Comptroller Stringer, Public Advocate Williams, and all New York City Councilmembers:
OUTDOOR SCHOOLING NOW! NYC Must Provide Outdoor Space for Schools to Safely Reopen
We, as a City, must prioritize our public education. Our elected leaders must commit by Monday Aug 2nd to:
1. A plan to close streets adjacent to or near each school building in the city and use nearby public space for education
2. Provide all schools with outdoor equipment necessary for success (i.e. tents, water fountains, etc.)
Why is this important?
We NYC parents/guardians, teachers, employers know that safe in-person education must be our City’s top priority. To open safely we must open outside. This has been done before* and can be done well if we give our schools the resources they need and the time to plan.
The science is clear. We know that transmission rates of Covid 19 are massively reduced outdoors.** A combination of street closures adjacent to our public schools and a reimagining of our vast network of public parks will provide much of the needed outdoor space to make an outdoor schooling program achievable and successful for all.
There are countless studies*** indicating that outdoor learning has measurable learning and social/emotional benefits even in good times. In light of this and the need to balance both the safety of our community and the education of our children, outdoor schooling must be made possible for this upcoming school year.
We call on our city leaders to act with conviction and urgency NOW so our schools can reopen safely and rigorously in-person in the fall.
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