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Queens Borough President Calls on City to Offer Remote Learning Option

(Photo by Compare Fibre on Unsplash)

Aug. 24, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards is calling on the city to offer a remote learning option for public school students in the fall.

Richards penned a letter to NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter Monday urging her to offer a remote instruction option given the rise of the delta variant across the city.

The city will open classrooms for full in-person learning on Sept. 13, the first day of classes, and doesn’t plan to offer an online learning option at this point.

Richards noted that Queens students are particularly vulnerable to the highly-contagious delta variant given the fact that the borough has some of the most overcrowded schools in the five boroughs. He said his office has heard from many parents concerned over the lack of a remote option.

“Having a remote option would be prudent due to the current reality we are all unfortunately confronting,” he wrote in the letter. “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.”

Richards said there is increased concern about young children contracting the virus amid the spread of the now-dominant delta strain. Children under age 12 are not eligible for any of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S.

He also said the Department of Education (DOE) failed to collect input from parents when it made the decision to start school without a remote option. He condemned the fact that parents had no say in the decision.

“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,” Richards wrote to Ross Porter. “Having a remote option is being pro-active and vital during this unprecedented time.”

Richards sent the letter to Ross Porter the same day Mayor Bill de Blasio announced all DOE staffers will be required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Teachers, principals, custodians, food staff and school safety officers will need to show proof that they have received at least one dose by Sept. 27.

Most student athletes — those who participate in what the city deems a “high risk” sport — are also required to get the shot.

The DOE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the letter.

QBP Donovan Richards Chancellor Porter Letter by Queens Post on Scribd

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Gabriela Maciel

Thank you Mr. Richards! I am a parent of a middle schooler who is in favor of a remote learning option. My child did not “fall behind” as the mayor likes to say most children did. Yes, there are challenges for some families, whether it’s lack of computers, internet or supervision, however that’s not the case for everyone. There should be an option for those that have the resources, and want to keep their children safe. I do not trust the schools to provide enough social distancing when the classroom are overcrowded. I believe having a remote/blended option is one way to safely bring kids back to school.
Please continue to fight for us.
Thank you.


Children can get the virus since they are not vaccinated and crowded classrooms can act like a petrified dish for infection. Those with immune conditions are very vulnerable and should be able to learn remotely.


According to what i read and watched on the news COVID-19 is here to stay. Eventually we will be told to pay for the shot like the flu shot. A lot of folks who are getting covid are not getting severe enough symptoms to get tested or to end up in the hospital. So we are not getting a full picture of how many people are infected and can spread it. I know i had fever for three days and a very dry mouth but my doctor told me there was no need to get tested since i been vaccinated and to wear a mask when around people. My fever went down by the fourth day but my roommate tested positive a week later from doing an at home covid test. She showed no symptoms but enjoyed extending her vacation from work. We need in class learning for those that can not afford babysitters.

Whereas I understand

In school learning is NOT a babysitting service!!!

Your kids are sick: KEEPEMHOME!!

There’s three feet of snow and our idiot Mayor and chancellor keep us open, KEEPEMHOME!!!


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