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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability

July 8, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. We are going to focus today on one big topic, and it is the issue that New York City will focus on for the next few months, because it really is the single biggest part of restarting New York City and moving us forward. And it's so important to millions of New Yorkers, including 1.1 million public school kids. And, of course, I'm talking about the restart of New York City public schools. Look, this is the single biggest piece of the equation – 1.1 million kids, millions of parents and family members who want to see their kids educated the best way possible, and that means in-person learning. Of course, everyone – everyone is focused on health and safety first. We're going to talk about that today how the first focus will be on health and safety while maintaining a constant understanding that the best way to educate our kids is in the classroom. The fact that so many other parts of our restart will key off of the reopening of our schools. I've heard from community members, I've heard from people in the business, community, civic groups, clergy all over the city – the same message –everyone's looking to the public school system to indicate the bigger direction of New York City. So, we have an obligation first and foremost to our kids and our families, but also to the whole city to work hard now to be ready for September. And our parents have spoken clearly, the DOE did an extraordinary survey of parents – 400,000 responses, 75 percent of our parents said they want their kids back in the school buildings, getting the very best education. And we need to listen to the voices of our parents as we plan, as we prepare, as we think about what they are saying about the people they know best, their own children, but also what they're saying about their own lives. So many New Yorkers desperately need to get back to work. And for a lot of people, that means they have to get back to a workplace, and they need to know that their kids will be safe and secure, getting a chance to be educated much more deeply.

So, parents want this for their children and they want this so they can restore their livelihoods for their families. Parents are speaking loudly and clearly, but everyone understands, whatever we do has to be, first and foremost, seen through the prison of health and safety. So, everything we do will be with a very high bar related to health and safety. The Chancellor will talk more about that in a moment. We're going to move forward, according to the data, according to the science. We're going to work closely every step of the way with the State of New York to make the best decision for our children, for our families, for our city. We're going to watch to see what the data tells us. We're going to put every precaution in place, test to make sure it's working. And as we've said, many times, things can change along the way. And that's a hard thing for all of us to take in, but it's true. The health care situation in this city in March and April was one thing, it's been very different, thank God, in June into July so much better. We have to keep making it better and we have to keep aware of what's happening all around us in the country and make sure that the decisions we are made are based on objective fact. And that can change at any given time and we have to be able to move with those changes. But it depends on starting now, opening our schools, a little over two months away – a lot to be done. This morning. I had the honor of speaking to our principals and to educators who are doing so much work right now to get our school system ready for September, and I thank them for their extraordinary work. But I know this is the most challenging task that any principals, any educators have faced in the history of New York City public schools, trying to get ready for so many different eventualities and get it right from the beginning.

So, here's what we can tell you. One thing we know for sure, and the math just makes it clear, when you think about health first, you think about social distancing. When you think about social distancing, you need more space. You're going to have fewer kids in a classroom, fewer kids in the school building. So, you're not going to be able, with certain exceptions – most schools will not be able to have all their kids in school at the same time and schools that are historically overcrowded will really particularly struggle, because they're only going to be able to use so much space. Remember, six feet needed around each child. So, when we know that health and safety means social distancing, therefore we have to use a lot more space for fewer kids, it makes very clear, the approach we will use is blended learning. And blended learning simply means at some points in the week, you're learning in person in the classroom; at other points in a week, you're learning remotely. And we all know remote learning is not perfect, but we've also seen a lot of kids benefit greatly from it during these last months. And we know we'll be able to do it even better in the months ahead. Now, to make it really simple for every-day parents, and I was a public school parent in New York City public schools. I know parents want clear, straight forward information.

Here's the deal, for the vast majority of kids in the vast majority of schools, you'll be going to school to the classroom either two days a week or three days a week, depending on the week. Again, certain other schools will have exceptional dynamics, we can talk about that as well. But for the vast majority of kids, a typical week, two or three days in the classroom, in the school, the other days, remote learning. Of course, we understand some families will choose remote learning as the only option, the Chancellor will to speak to that, and they have every right to do that, and we'll be ready. But, basically, this blended model, this kind of split-schedule model is what we can do under current conditions. And then, let's hope and pray science helps us out with a vaccine, with a cure, treatment, the things that will allow us to go farther.

So, we know that our educators have had to adapt intensely in recent months. They've done an amazing job. We know they're up to this challenge as well, but let's go back to the point that I've talked about, the Chancellor's talked about before. It has to be the greatest school year in New York City history. And that's not just words, that's the truth, it has to be a year where really extraordinary things happen, where we help kids who are coming back from so much, where we work with different models and make them work together, where we recognize that we can find some good even the midst of crisis. Fewer kids in the classroom – well, in some ways, that could be something we take positive advantage of. Teachers will be able to spend more time with kids when they have fewer kids to reach. Online learning has been really fantastic for certain students and it's given all students more flexibility and it's a way to help kids learn at their own pace and different times of day, not just during the hours of the school day. So, there's a lot we can do with online learning that we couldn't do before. We have to look at this as a challenge, but one that we can also find good in and possibility in. And we're going to ask everyone to reach and really reach deep to serve our kids. And now, to tell you about more about what this look like, our Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. So, last week we announced a series of health and safety measures that we will be implementing this fall. For example, requiring face mass for students and staff, increasing access to hand washing and sanitizers, and continuing to maintain physical distancing. As a quick reminder, schools will be supplied with additional cleaning supplies, including hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes and PPE. DOE central will provide all of this. It will not come out of individual school budgets. Our buildings will be deep cleaned on a nightly basis with electrostatic disinfectant sprayers. And HVAC systems are being upgraded as we speak to ensure better ventilation in all of our schools. We will also provide staff with the training that they need to keep themselves and our students safe. We also will be implementing social distancing requirements, and these include fewer students in each classroom, the use of large spaces for classes, for example, cafeterias, auditoriums gymnasiums – in some cases, enclosed outdoor spaces – updated entry and exit and hallway layouts to reduce contact. We are working our School Construction Authority, our community partners to identify non-DOE space that could possibly be used as well.

So, let me talk a little bit more detail about our split-schedule models that we rolled out with our principals this morning. And I have to thank, and I want to thank all of our principals and teachers and support staff, including our paraprofessionals, but including as well our student nutrition workers, our school safety agents, our custodians who all had a voice in developing these plans. We know that we cannot maintain proper physical distancing and have 100 percent of our students in school buildings five days a week. It's just geographically, physically not possible. Health and safety requires us to have fewer students in the building at the same time. So, for the 2020-21 school year, it will look different. Let me be clear, New York City students will be learning five days a week, whether it's in person or at home. Here's what will be different – students will return in September in either a blended learning model or a fully remote learning model if they so choose. Blended learning means students will be taught on-site in school for part of the week and will attend school remotely on the other days of the week. Over the past several months, we've worked with many stakeholders, including our principals and we've surveyed families and students, as Mayor de Blasio, has mentioned to develop scheduling models that can accommodate limited in-person attendance and enhanced health and safety measures. This morning, we shared these scheduling models with principals who will choose among them as they plan for the fall, taking into account the unique needs of their school communities. Most schools will choose from among three of these models and we'll make an additional two models available for schools in District 75. We will work with schools to maximize the amount of in-person instruction, but for the sake of clarity, I'd like to walk through two examples this morning.

Model one, which you see on the screen, is a two-cohort model. And by cohort, I mean two groups of students. This model assumes that a school has the capacity for at least 50 percent of their students to be in the building at any given time. Students will be in two or three days a week rotations. So, for example, one cohort comes to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and another cohort comes on Wednesdays and Fridays. Then the cohorts alternate on Mondays. Again, this is meant to give parents some semblance of predictability for planning purposes. This model – model two is a three-cohort model. This model assumes that a school has a capacity for at least 33 percent of its students to be in the building at any given time. For each group, there will be one consistent day of the week the student will be in-person, with Monday and Tuesday rotating among groups over a three-week cycle. That way you'll see most weeks students are in person two days, though every few weeks it will be one day only. Now, I know this sounds like a lot to take in, and it is. Let me tell you, it's been the same for all of us as we've grappled with these tough choices, but I'll say this as a reminder, we developed this guidance with principals and principals at the table and shared it with all of them today. Now, they will work to adapt these models to school communities, and they will provide clear specific schedules for each student in August so parents will know which days their child is expected in-person.

This is very new and different and I know it's no one's first choice, but we need to do it to maintain the health and safety of our school communities. And I know that we'll make this into our new approach of learning over time and we will be there to support you. We also know that there are families who did not feel comfortable going back to school buildings in the fall. We heard you loud and clear. These families can choose all remote learning for their child and will be specific periods in the school year during which remote-only families may elect to transition back to in-person learning.

Now, our next slide – equitable education is now more important than ever. The COVID-19 crisis has not disrupted our vision of Equity and Excellence. We are laser focused on developing and delivering a high-quality education for every student this fall. Our approach remains the same. We set a high bar for every student, no matter who they are, and that's excellence. And we give every student the support they need to meet that bar, that's equity. And we will look – it will look different for every child, especially in a time of crisis. We recognize and honor the significant trauma that our students, staff, and city have experienced over the past several months. We will return to “normal.” It is important to make space for these experiences in the new normal and recognize that our new normal is not what any of us have been used to. Teachers, staff, students must all have time and the support they need to reacclimate to school and adapt to these necessary changes. Social, emotional learning and trauma-informed care will be integrated into school programming throughout the school year and all schools will prioritize mental health supports. In-person services will be offered to students with IEP’s who opt to receive them to the greatest extent possible. And multilingual learners will receive an instructional program that ensures continued progress in language development and the areas of knowledge.

Now, I know this is a lot, and there will be additional guidance coming out to families to process this information and plan for the year ahead. As the Mayor has stated, we have to be ready for anything, and that means the guidance could change from the State, from health experts. We will need to adapt. And our commitment to you is that we will keep you informed every step of the way. Today, we will launch the return to school 2020 webpage, which we will update on a regular basis with the latest information, including dates, timelines, and all the latest information you need as we returned to school to September. Excuse me. Throughout the summer, we will continue to engage with families, students, and community leaders, both centrally through the DOE and within each school community. We will host a series of family and student information sessions to answer any questions or concerns that families may have. The first of these sessions will be held July 16th. Principals will also hold parent meetings in July to discuss their individual school schedules and needs. We will continue – next slide, please – we will continue to update our plans over the course of the summer. And here are a few key dates that are coming up that I will highlight, especially for parents and families – July 15th, the parent portal opens for families to sign up for fully remote instruction. July 16th will be the first virtual family information center. And August 7th is a deadline for families to choose fully remote instruction.

Remember, families will be allowed to transition back into in-person instruction on a quarterly basis. Families can opt for fully remote at any time. As we have said before, the 2020 school year will be like no other that we've experienced, but I know that together we will make it work for the 1.1 million students that are counting on us. Our city has been to hell and back. We do not want to return to that. So, we are going to make sure that our schools are safe for our families, for our students, and for our staff. And we are counting on all of you to work with us as we accomplish that goal of getting our students back in school. Mr. Mayor, thank you for this opportunity. And I'm passing it back to you.

Mayor: Thank you so much, Chancellor. Chancellor, you have worked really, really hard and your team has worked really, really hard, and I want to thank you. It's been an extraordinarily difficult circumstance, but what we've seen from this Chancellor, from the leadership at the DOE, from all our educators, they kept fighting through making things happen, created remote learning out of nowhere, gave kids something positive, even the midst of this crisis and are doing extraordinary work now to get us ready for September. So, thank you, Chancellor – to you and all the good folks who work with you.

Now, everyone let's just go over the indicators for the day. First, the daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19, that threshold is 200. Today's report, 65 patients. Number two, daily number of people in Health + Hospitals ICUs, threshold of 375. Today's report, 299 patients. And the most important one, percentage of people tested citywide positive for COVID-19, threshold of 15 percent. Today's report, one percent. Again, that is the lowest we have ever been at. So, we see in these indicators hope and the hard work that all of you have done paying off, but this is the kind of data we're going to be watching every day as we make smart decisions about the future of our city and the future of our schools. A few words in Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, let's turn to our colleagues in the media and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.

Moderator: We'll now begin our Q-and-A. As a reminder, we're also joined by Chancellor Carranza and Senior Advisor Dr. Jay Varma. First question today goes to Jillian Jorgensen from NY1.

Question: Hi, Mayor. Thanks for taking my question. My first question is will this require extra teachers? One concern that I've heard is that as you spread kids across more rooms, a teacher can only be in one room at a time and that this might require extra teachers. And if so, how do you plan to make that happen considering the hiring freeze, save for the ATR, and President Trump indicating on Twitter today that it doesn't look like there's going to be a lot of extra federal cash flowing to cities as he's threatening to withhold money for districts that don't fully open.

Mayor: Yeah, Jillian, we've learned, first of all, that the president seems to change his mind every day or two and what he does, doesn't really have a lot of bearing here. We need obviously the Congress to act on the stimulus and the president's voice will be very helpful moving a stimulus, but so far, he's been incoherent on this topic. But in the meantime, we have an extraordinary team at the DOE that's going to do everything they can with the resources they have. We have to be very, very creative. There's no question about it. But I think the most important thing to recognize is our educators are showing extraordinary creativity and flexibility and are going to do everything we can to reach every child. Chancellor, do you want to add?

Chancellor Carranza: Sure. Hi, Jillian. So, we are in the process right now – and I think the notion is absolutely right. If you have less children in the classroom, then who serves those? So, there's a number of complexities involved with that. Part of why we are so fortunate to have done the survey is it gives us an idea of how many parents are, in fact, thinking of having a fully remote learning option. That obviously impacts how many students will be in person. In addition, we are in the process of right now identifying every single person in the DOE that is not currently in a classroom, as a teacher, but has an underlying pedagogical credential and identifying the critical work that we're doing because some of those people might end up in classrooms. So, again, it's looking from within as well as part of the ATR. We also have – and we’ve seen them step up and do a tremendous service over these last few months – a number of substitutes have been staffing our rec centers and doing a phenomenal job. So, we're counting on them as well. But we're taking a holistic look at making sure everyone that has a teaching credential that can be in a classroom will do that if we need them to do that based on the numbers of students back in school and in person.

Mayor: Go ahead, Jillian.

Question: And then my second question is, can you just elaborate on the SCA looking for non-DOE spaces or other spaces? Is there a possibility that you might look to lease space or is this more of a repurposing of existing City-owned space? You know, how are you going to approach that?

Mayor: The answer is yes, all of the above. Using everything we've got now, auditoriums gyms, you got it, everything we've got for a classroom space. If there's space that can be leased nearby, that could be used effectively, doing that too. SCA is doing an amazing job. I want to thank everyone, Lorraine and everyone at SCA for what they're doing, because they always managed to be creative, but we're going to get our hands on any and all space we can to maximize the options.

Moderator: The next is Juliet from 1010 WINS.

Question: Hi, good morning, Mr. Mayor. Good morning, Chancellor. How are you?

Chancellor Carranza: Good.

Mayor: Good, Juliet, how are you doing today?

Question: Great, great. So, I guess this is a question for either or both – what are your plans for extracurricular activities? You know, team sports, clubs, field trips – how will that be handled?

Mayor: It's a great question. And it's certainly not going to be business as usual. Chancellor, do you want to speak to it? I know we're sorting things as we go along and education is the first concern here. But go ahead, Chancellor.

Chancellor Carranza: Sure. So, we have a number of teams that are actively working to identify what the answer will be to those questions. There's still a lot of unknowns. So, we haven't forgotten about extracurriculars. We’re also – for example, a band. So, what will band look like if we have social distancing and we have the precautions that we have to take and then you blow your trumpet and then you have to empty the spit valve? Well, is that healthy? So, the new normal will not be like the old normal, and we have a number of working groups that are working through all of the complexities of all of those types of questions as well. So, there'll be more information in the coming weeks on those particular items.

Mayor: Juliet, your question caused the Chancellor to talk about the spit valve. I hope that's the last time that happens for all. Go ahead.


Question: Very important, right? Very important. So, my next question actually is on another topic and maybe, Mr. Mayor, you can answer. There's been a question about the Alternate Side Parking rules. So, a listener from Kew Gardens is telling me that she understands that you move the car only on the later day on the sign, once a week. So, they have a sign on one side of the street for Thursday and the other side of the street for Friday. So, she thinks she needs to move it only on the Friday, but because they're not moving it Thursday, they're getting tickets. And she says she's hearing about this in other neighborhoods. So, what's right?

Mayor: Well, anytime you're trying to make change and update something, it takes a while for people to get all the information they need, Juliet. So, I'm really, really appreciative that you're bringing this point forward. And I thank you. You’ve been on a roll in recent months, bringing forward really important points that people need to hear. Look, what we were saying is, on the streets where you had to move it twice a week – not on the ones, like a lot of streets, you move once a week. And like you said, let's say one side street is Thursday, the other side of the street is Friday. Okay. That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the ones where people had to move their car twice a week for one side. In that case, you go to the later day of the two days. That's what this new policy is about. It’s telling people, you only have to move your car once a week when Alternate Side is in effect.

So, on the folks who – for folks who historically have only been moving their car once a week for their side of the street, that continues the way it was. If you've been moving on Thursday, once a week, keep moving on Thursday, once a week. But if you're on one of those streets where you have to move it twice a week, go with the later day, and we're going to see how this goes, and if it goes well, then we're going to make it uniform across the city that people only need to do it once a week.

Moderator: The next is Alex Zimmerman from Chalkbeat.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. My first question is just about what the plan is for parents who can't supervise their kids at home when they're doing remote learning. You know, there, obviously, are lots of working parents. So, I'm wondering what the plan is for them.

Mayor: Yeah. We've got a lot to do here. And I feel for parents who are juggling so much, Alex. And obviously yesterday's announcement that we're moving forward with the opening of child care centers is going to be helpful for a lot of parents, but we're going to have to figure out more in terms of child care. This is something we're going to be building as we go along. Some parents are going to be able to make it work under current conditions. Some are going to need extra help, and we're going to work over the coming weeks to find other ways to help them.

Question: I'm also wondering if there is any consideration for, like, prioritizing certain students for more in-person learning. So, for example, students with disabilities or students who have fallen really far behind in the first phase of remote learning. Like, will high-need students get any kind of priority for in-person instruction? You know, especially younger kids who are learning to read. And I'm also wondering if the City is looking to deploy like a standard curriculum this coming year, given the sort of staffing challenges and issues with potentially lots of teachers not teaching in person?

Mayor: So, I'll start, and then to the Chancellor – Alex, look, the first goal, again, focusing on health and safety overall, that's going to be the thing that guides us. That's what we're going to be focused on all the time, looking at the data, working with the State to get right how we're going to handle things. But then the next goal is to maximize the time that kids have in the classroom. We want each kid to get the most time they can get in the classroom setting because that's how they're going to learn best. But you're right, some kids will need particular focus and attention. And I know the Chancellor has that in his plan. So, go ahead, Chancellor.

Chancellor Carranza: Hi, Alex. Good question. So, we didn't cover it in the briefing right now, but we will have details about this later. So, in working with the principals, in particular principals in District 75, there are two additional models that they've helped us develop, where there is a group, a cohort of students, that will get instruction five days a week. Obviously, students with disabilities is one of those groups of students that we're very, very concerned about as well. Not all students with disabilities are going to want to have every day of instruction. We know that from the parent surveys as well, but there are additional models where there are groups of students that will get five days a week of instruction. Obviously, that's all based on programmatic needs and it's also based on programming within the physical constraints of a building as well.

In addition to that, we're trying to be very, very clear about what additional supports are needed for students. So, for example, we obviously think of students with disabilities, very, very attuned to what they need, but students that are multilingual learners could also fall into that category. We also have students in temporary housing that we see as students that need additional support as well. Again, as the Mayor has mentioned, our goal is to have as many students in-person as much of the time as possible. And that's what we're trying to strike that balance. We know – and, listen, I just want to say to parents out there, this has been a very difficult time for parents. We are very sensitive to this. As a parent myself, I can empathize with how difficult this has been. But again, we can make up learning for students. We cannot bring a student back who is infected and passes away. So, health and safety will continue to be paramount for us as we move forward.

Mayor: Go ahead.

Moderator: The next is Andrew Siff from NBC.

Question: Hi, good morning, everyone. My first question has to do with face coverings. If you can clarify, we know that in some European countries that have reopened schools, the kids only need to wear face coverings when they're in the corridor between classes or moving from one place to another. But we've heard that here they have to keep their face covering on even in the classroom. Can you clarify what the policy is and whether it's mandatory for all kids to wear face coverings at all times?

Mayor: Yeah. Chancellor will go into detail, Andrew but the goal is maximum use of face coverings. Look, face coverings have been one of the success stories in this crisis. It's really been a high impact strategy. We do know for some kids there might be particular conditions that make it hard for them to use a face covering. We'll obviously have exceptions. But the goal is to use face coverings to the maximum. Go ahead Chancellor.

Chancellor Carranza: Yeah, that's a great question. Our planning and our guidance has been that students will keep face coverings on. Adults will keep face coverings on. And it's – we've seen the success here in New York City. I will tell you that even in our rec centers, when we, I visited rec centers, everyone has a face covering. Even our youngest children have face coverings. So that is part of the guidance. And that is part of the safety requirements that we will be enforcing.

Mayor: Go ahead, Andrew.

Question: Okay. My second question, Mayor, you did say that you're working in concert with the State, but in the past, when you've said things like schools will do this, or schools will reopen, the Governor has followed up by saying, well, that's his opinion. I'm wondering how confident are you that you can actually implement this model?

Mayor: Andrew, the only way to get somewhere is to have a plan and work the plan. I mean it's two months plus until school begins. There's a huge amount of work to be done. And we talked – the Chancellor and I talked with the principals this morning, you know, it was to thank them for how much they've done already, but also to say, we want to support you every step of the way, because you have a huge amount you got to do in a limited period of time. So the only way we're going to be in position to open schools is if we're in a kind of ready position right now, actively doing the work. If the data tells us we have to do something differently, we will, and we'll work with the State very closely on that. But my responsibility is to have the schools ready to go. And that's a local responsibility, that you can only be ready if you're actively doing that work right now. But again, data health first and the constant collaboration with the State to decide what's right. That will be how we approach it.

Moderator: The next is Katie Honan from the Wall Street Journal.

Question: Hey, good morning. I wanted to ask, I know – I don't know if you have numbers yet, but there's a 50 percent and a 33 percent model, but for the Chancellor, what is the optimal class size for the setup? I mean, taking into account that a lot of schools are way over capacity in certain districts you know, without the pandemics. So what's the optimal class size and, you know, would you add some other space, like a trailer or something? And I have another question after.

Chancellor Carranza: Okay, thanks Katie. So the optimum size is between nine and 12 students in most physical spaces, most of our classrooms. That's based on what the social distancing requirements are that we've received from the Department of Health and from CDC. So we provided principals with the analysis of their campuses and their spaces with not only the metrics, but we asked them to, with their instructional leadership teams, which include teachers, parents, and other stakeholders, to actually walk their buildings and verify the information we gave them. And then to go through the additional exercise of identifying any other public spaces that could be converted to classroom spaces. No one knows their building like a principal knows their building. And we found that by and large, the analysis that we conducted was accurate. What we got lots of additional information, was information from principals being very creative and innovative about what spaces they could use.

And some things were weren't accurate. For example in some of our high schools that had career technical education programs, the classroom space looks like you have so much physical space, but when you walk into that classroom, you have machinery and you have laser printers and you have other things, you don't have that kind of space. So again, it's going to look different and that's why we've given two to three models that I've recommended based on all of the data to principals to try on for size. And we've created a process for principals to give us feedback. If it doesn't work, what their process would be as well. But the optimum size is nine to 12 students.

Mayor: Go ahead. Do you have a second?

Moderator: We're having some tech issues with Katie. We'll circle back.

Mayor: Okay.

Moderator: The next question is from Sydney Kashiwagi at the Staten Island Advance.

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor, now that the budget has been cut for Staten Island's deer vasectomy program for the rest of the fiscal year, how do you plan to continue to curb and maintain the borough's deer population while the program is on hold? And why are you still opposed to allowing Staten Island to move forward with a controlled cull, even, even if it's just on State owned property?

Mayor: Yeah. Sydney, as you know, there's been a host of issues, concerns from the State. Concerns about the safety of people in surrounding areas. Again, we have to find a way to keep addressing the deer issue while dealing with really difficult constraints in our budget. So I'll come back to you with more of the specifics of how we're going to approach it, but it's something we've made progress on over the years with a smart strategy. We're going to have to keep finding a way to do it.

Question: And why did you – yeah, I have a second question. Why did you hold off on signing the package of police reform legislation yesterday? NYPD brass have said this week that they want changes particularly to the chokehold bill. So was that the reason why you held off on signing the legislation? And is City Hall trying to make changes to the chokehold bill before you sign the package of legislation?

Mayor: No Sydney, we’re going to be doing a signing ceremony next week.

Moderator: We'll circle back to Katie Honan. I'm sorry, we're still having tech issues. Katie, we'll get back to you. The next time – and we've time for two more after this, is Nolan from the Post.

Mayor: Nolan? We are still having technical issues.

Question: Oh, here we go. Is it working now?

Mayor: Yes. How you doing Nolan?

Question: I'm all right. Two sets of questions, first about the announcement today. One, will there be any live teaching requirements for teachers conducting classes online, given the significant number of complaints about that this semester? Two, this [inaudible] no, this is sort of all, all regarding the announcement, if I could?

Mayor: Nolan  hold on, hold on. Just – that's a question. Do you want him to answer it and then you'll come back for your follow? Why don't we have him answer the first one? Go ahead Chancellor?

Chancellor Carranza: Okay, sure. Hi Nolan. So there is live teaching that we've required this summer for summer school. We've worked very closely with UFT and CSA on this issue. And we're planning on continuing that as we go into the fall. We're in the process of working out what that's going to look like. Obviously it's, we don't want students or adults sitting in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day. So again, it's not only the live instruction portion of the question, but it's also the health and safety portion of the question and the social emotional learning part of that question as well. But we have heard parent voices and we are already implementing that this summer for summer school.

Mayor: Go ahead Nolan.

Question: Mr. Mayor to the shooting search here in the city, you talked about it a bit yesterday. June was the most violent June in the city in the last 20 years. It was followed by an especially violent 4th of July when it comes to shootings. Harlem has been hard hit. Grand Concourse in the Bronx has been hard hit. They saw 17 shootings there last month, up from just four. In Brownsville shootings were up 240 percent last month. In Crown Heights, there were eight shootings last month, up from just one. Our shack reporters, again, say that they've not been told of any sort of coherent comprehensive plan to put a kibosh on the violence. Typically in crime surges like this in the past, there would have been a big press conference put together by the NYPD and City Hall to roll out such a plan. So again, where is the plan and what are you doing to ensure that this weekend in Crown Heights and in Brownsville and in Grand Concourse and in Harlem, isn't a repeat of the last many weekends?

Mayor: Yeah, Nolan, again, I don't know what the reporters that you're talking about are saying, but I know what the NYPD is doing. We announced several different pieces of a strategy to move officers, deploy them from other responsibilities, out to patrol in the communities that need it the most. There's unquestionably, we've seen it time and again, the ability of NYPD, using precision policing to focus on where the problems are. We're dealing with an unprecedented reality. This is not business as usual. And it's all underlined by all the problems created by the pandemic and the absence of the functioning court system. But the NYPD continues to move resources where they're needed and come up with new strategies. So it's different from past years because we're dealing with a much greater challenge, but we will beat it back.

Moderator: The next question is Matt Chayes. And we'll get back to Katie for one more try afterwards.

Question: Hey, good morning all. For Chancellor Carranza, to what extent will there be provisions for DOE personnel who either can't work in person, say because they have a compromised immune system? Or just who don't feel safe for doing so? And regarding students, how do you punish your sanction or educate students who are, you know, first graders, second graders, who won't wear a mask, take it off their face? And then I have a second question.

Mayor: Well, that's two questions my friend. So we are going to do those two.

Question: Okay. Well then –

Mayor: Matt, come on my man. You know, the difference –

Question: I just want to ask you about the homeless LGBTQ population as well, if I can, after?

Mayor: Yeah, that's just respectfully you did two questions. So we'll come back on that another time. Go ahead.

Chancellor Carranza: Yeah. So they're good questions. So the first question about enforcing masks. Enforcement, I think is the wrong word to use. It's about education. So we will be educating students. As I mentioned before, we've done this already in our rec centers where students are wearing their masks. They understand it's a matter of public safety. It's a matter of their safety. So there'll be a lot of education. There'll be a lot of restorative ways of helping students to understand why it's important to wear the mask. So it'll be redirection, it'll be education. We are not talking about punishing kids. We want to make sure it's an educationally sound approach. And it's going to be a lot of encouragement.

Now, the second question having to do with staff, we are also launching in the coming weeks, a portal where and a process where all of our staff can apply for an accommodation, based on any underlying medical conditions that they may have, that may make it difficult for in person learning. So there'll be a process where they will apply and then it will be reviewed and then it will be granted. It's important to understand that it's someone that applies for an accommodation, is still working. So when it gets to the question of then who is going to be conducting the remote learning? There will be a modicum of our staff members that will be working from home and physically they have to do it. So again, a lot of moving pieces, but there is a process that we'll be launching. I spoke about that today with principals as well.

Moderator: One last try for Katie Honan from the Wall Street Journal.

Question: Can you hear me now?

Mayor: Oh, there you go. Welcome back.

Question: Sorry. My Wi-Fi is so sick of me being around, it's just shut down. But my second question was just, what's the plan for schools that co-locate and particularly charter schools? Have you discussed this sort of plan? Will you have a charter co-locating in a public school, will they have to abide by the same cohort and the same in person and remote and classroom size? Thank you.

Mayor: Thank you, Katie. I'll turn to the Chancellor, but just saying, everybody has to focus. It doesn't matter what kind of school, obviously everybody's got focused on health and safety first. Those social distancing rules just require to keep the classroom size very limited. So again, you know, one of the things that I want everyone to understand, even though we know 75 percent of parents want to have their kids back in the classroom and we want to accommodate them to the maximum extent possible, it will always be done within social distancing rules. And that's going to be the math that sort of creates the physical limitation. Go ahead Chancellor.

Chancellor Carranza: Yeah. Thanks Katie. So absolutely in schools that are co-located in DOE buildings with charter schools, the same safety measures will be in effect. Again, this is about children. So we have a very hardworking team that works with our charter partners that is already socializing with these guidelines look like. There's going to be a series of working groups. Again, I think the key is going to be our principals. Because our principals in co-located buildings already do an extraordinary amount of co-planning and programming with their charter colleagues. So again, it's important that we're supporting the principals as they're working some of these details. For example, one way hallways, you know, how do you determine which hallway and where, which way is it going and which way is it coming back? A lot of those little details will really happen at the school site level. But our direction is going to be that safety is universal for everyone.

Mayor: Thank you very much, Chancellor. We'll just conclude with this point that look, our kids have been through so much. I've talked about it, the Chancellor's talked about it. We really feel for the children of New York City. And they've had to deal with something that no previous generation has dealt with. Imagine if you're a young person trying to make sense of the world, the amount of confusion, the amount of pain, the amount of trauma that's been around them. We owe it to them to get it right going forward. To keep everyone safe first and foremost, but try to give them some hope, try and give them some possibility again. These kids, they're going to inherit New York City. So we have to prepare them for their lives ahead. And the best way to do that is in person to let our educators do what they do best. And our kids need to know that we're going to be there for them. So we're going to move heaven and Earth to be ready for September. Always with safety as the first priority, but knowing that our kids need that boost, they need that hope so they can move forward. Thank you, everybody.

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