NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Officials said Thursday that 370 city school buildings had their ventilation fully inspected in two days, as workers go through a “final run through” to make sure the buildings are safe before students return in a couple weeks. A list outlining the status of each inspected school will be placed online.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said school custodial teams, the School Construction Authority and the Division of School Facilities have been working since early June to make sure the city's roughly 1,800 school buildings have adequate ventilation, among other safety measures.
“What’s happening right now is a final run through, a final set of inspections,” de Blasio said. “I liken it to the checklist before you lift off. We’re making sure everything is right and anything that needs work, it will get that work.”
“If any part of a building, if any classroom is not ready, we will not use it until it’s healthy and safe for everyone,” the mayor said.
School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo said that with 370 school building inspections completed another 247 more inspections were scheduled for Thursday.
“I just want to say that in my 26-plus years as an employee of the School Construction Authority, I have never seen such an unprecedented effort—370 buildings visited in two days,” Grillo said.
She said the city has final reports on 99 buildings and that 92 percent of rooms in those buildings “are just fine.”
“For the other 8 percent, there are small issues that came up,” she said. “Give an example, a school in Brooklyn where we found two rooms that still had windows nailed shut. That is going to be taken care of today.”
Grillo said custodians have been doing things like testing the air, replacing air filters and doing deep-cleaning.
George Roussey, a senior director at the NYC School Construction Authority, said teams have been hitting every classroom in buildings.
“It’s actually every space where there’s students and where teachers are going to be,” Roussey said.
De Blasio said the city will document the status of every school building on the DOE website.
“We’re going to list the status of every single school as they go through the inspections,” the mayor said. “And we’ll be adding to the list every day as more inspection results are analyzed and completed. You’ll see the specific schools that have passed and are all ready to go. You’ll see the schools that still need work.”
Meanwhile, de Blasio said the city had come to an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers union on instructional guidance for blended learning when the school year starts.
Under the agreement, blended learning students will have two different teachers—one who teaches in-person and another who teaches remotely. Students will switch between the teachers on their days learning remotely and in-class.
The teachers will have 30 minutes before classes each day to collaborate, de Blasio said.
The mayor said fully remote students will also have live instruction every day.
“It really helps to clarify how work will be done with kids who are in school, kids who are in blended learning and outside the school that day, and of course kids who are remote full-time,” de Blasio said of the agreement.
The mayor said the agreement “clarifies that there will be planning time every day for teachers—30 minutes at the start of the day to work out the team approach for that day—and to work through how to maximize the use of technology for the good of all, while still getting the unbeatable impact of in-person learning.”