By Moses Kuwema
Council member Fernando Cabrera has demanded the creation and implementation of a plan for equality of learning among the city's public school students.
Cabrera, who is majority whip and chairperson of the governmental operations committee made the call to the New York City Department of Education in a statement Tuesday December 8, 2020.
"While I fully support the re-opening of our schools, we are confronted with the reality that many families in black and brown communities are keeping their kids home because of the spike in coronavirus cases, which is happening in their neighborhoods." he said.
"At the same time, the DOE still has not resolved the inability of kids in these communities – many of whom are living in homeless shelters – to access the internet, to receive online instruction.
"I've been saying this since last spring when the lack of devices and lack of Wi-Fi became apparent.
"This ongoing disparity creates the danger of these kids never being able to catch up to their more affluent peers, whose homes are equipped and whose neighborhoods are not being ravaged again by the COVID-19 pandemic," he added.
He continued, "This is just another side of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in New York City neighborhoods. It's time to take a broad view- it's not just the infection rate and death rate that are worse in black and brown communities."
"It's the joblessness, it's the lack of resources for learning and education and safe recreation. This is not acceptable.
"We need a comprehensive plan- not just a piecemeal approach. Our children's future depends on it," concluded Cabrera.
K-5, Pre-K and 3-K students returned to school for in person learning Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city also hopes middle and high school students will get back in school as soon as possible.