Many parents have expressed concern that New York City public schools have so far remained open during this COVID-19 outbreak. As a parent myself, I too share those same concerns regarding the safety of our children.
The decision to close schools rests with Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education. I have personally communicated your concerns to City Hall and have joined Speaker Corey Johnson and UFT President Michael Mulgrew in urging the Mayor to take aggressive actions such as an official policy allowing students the option to learn from home or even full school closure, in order to keep our teachers and children safe.
Moving towards temporarily online instruction will be difficult without Universal Broadband. In the past, we've worked with Charter Communications to help bridge the digital divide with Internet Assist for students on free and reduced lunch or seniors receiving supplemental social security.
After I worked with Silicon Harlem to recommend free broadband during this outbreak, Charter announced free broadband and Wi-Fi for every student K-12 to college who does not already have broadband for the next 60 days starting this Monday.
Free and low-cost broadband for all students is the key element we needed to allow our children to continue their learning in the safety and security of their homes.
My office and I remain in close communication with state officials and the Mayor's office as this situation develops.