De Blasio expects to release details of school reopening plan next week

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A plan to reopen schools for in-person learning in the five boroughs will be coming next week, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

There are a lot of questions left to answer such as how much should students be tested, should schools reopen citywide or neighborhood by neighborhood, and which ones reopen first.

De Blasio said those conversations are happening now, though the plan won't be ready by Thanksgiving as he had originally hoped.

While the details of a plan have yet to be ironed out, de Blasio again said Wednesday that the reopening will happen in stages, starting with special education, 3K, Pre-K and elementary schools.

"We are closed temporarily, we will be back and next week we're going to announce the details of how we will come back, it will be in stages, we will find a way back through this pandemic cause we proved we could keep our schools safe, but we're going to have to come back a different way given some of the challenges we're facing with this second wave bearing down on us," de Blasio said. "So next week we will put forward that plan and it will take a lot of engagement with parents."

WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported there was a rare moment of regreat from the mayor for not having the plan worked out sooner.

"I think we didn't have a Plan B and we should've had a Plan B, but I also understand why we didn't because we were really dealing with so many day to day, hour to hour issues, and trying to find a way to avert getting to that 3%," de Blasio said. "In retrospect, clearly it would've been better, but the important point is getting to the 3% meant something, it mean there was a problem, it meant that we were dealing with this second wave bearing down on us. That's a real thing."

He fell short of apologizing to parents saying, "Honestly, I have to hold myself responsible. The better situation would have been clearly to have that plan all worked through in advance."

One certainty is there will be more testing than the current once-a-month plan.

"We want to have every child able to be tested at any point," de Blasio said.

If the city's COVID-19 numbers keep rising, some areas could be declared orange zones and responsibility on schools would shift form the mayor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said he wants schools open with more testing and cleaning.