He says he was skeptical schools truly would be ready to start Sept. 10. But now that the beginning of the academic year has been delayed until Sept. 21, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz feels the city made the right call to do so.
Dinowitz was an early proponent of delaying school reopening. He also supported creative solutions to allow for more “classroom” time, like utilizing unused mass gathering buildings — such as churches and community centers — as sites for in-person classes when classrooms weren’t available. He even turned to his constituents for other ideas, suggesting they also share those ideas with the School Construction Authority.
But while the city may have bought itself some time, Dinowitz still isn’t completely sold on beginning in-person classes later this month. He thinks there are a few areas that still need to be addressed before public schools are truly ready to reopen.
“In particular, I am worried about inadequate ventilation in classrooms, as well as potential shortcomings in the city’s testing protocol,” Dinowitz said, in a release. “I am hopeful that we can resume in-person instruction safely and effectively, but there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed before the city can do that.”
While the city’s education department made the decision to push the return to school to later this month, there are still some varying opinions about policies and procedures that should be implemented once those doors physically reopen.
Democratic congressional nominee Jamaal Bowman, a former public middle school administrator himself, used some of his educational expertise to release a proposed reopening plan of his own. He urged the implementation of five public policy overhauls, including centralizing the production of personal protective equipment, and investing in school renovations that would make buildings safer until there’s a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
“We must take every precaution to ensure the well-being of children, parents, educators and support staff,” Bowman said, in a release. “That is why my plan is not just a cookie-cutter guide to reopen schools, but instead, is a comprehensive plan that allows for the local context of a school to be taken into account.”
Delaying in-person classes also is popular in nearby towns. Both Yonkers and New Rochelle began their academic years completely remotely, and in-person classes there won’t begin until at least October.
The city’s public schools aren’t the only ones looking to open this fall.
Classes are in session at the Bronxville Adult School, a continuing education non-profit just north of Riverdale. It’s offering more than 100 in-person and remote classes including a business and money matters course providing an introduction to e-commerce in small businesses, as well as classes dealing with retirement income planning and preserving family assets.
For those looking to brush up on their home office skills, the school offers basic courses in both Microsoft Word and Excel. And for aspiring coders, there’s a Python programming and tech solutions class.
Not all of the classes are purely academic, however. Some of them involve a little more physical exertion, like Zumba, belly dancing and yoga. The school also offers in-person sports like golf, tennis and pickleball, which will take place at the Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester.
The fall semester runs through October. Register at BronxvilleAdultSchool.org or by calling (914) 315-0516.