At least 300 city schools will hold some classes outdoors in September

At least 300 city schools will hold some classes outdoors in September

September 3, 2020

It could be a rough road this year for some city kids.

More than 300 schools will feature outdoor learning this upcoming year — with some setting up improvised classrooms in the middle of closed off streets.

City Council members Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca held an outdoor learning demonstration outside P.S. 15 in Red Hook Wednesday where tots sat in a shuttered roadway surrounded by parked cards and residential houses.

They were buffered from New York City asphalt by modest square cushions as a teacher delivered a lesson underneath a tent on Sullivan Street.

Backers of outdoor learning have argued that expanding instruction outdoors will relieve space restrictions imposed by social distancing requirements.

“Many schools are eager to use outdoor space so that students and teachers can work together in ways that are safe, enriching, and even healing and inspiring this fall,” Lander said in a statement. “Outdoor learning can and should be part of the toolbox of options for schools as they plan to bring students and teachers together, and we have to work together to make sure that it is an option available to all schools equitably, regardless of the size of their PTA coffers or their location.”

Lander and others have lamented the fact that schools with superior facilities in more affluent neighborhoods will enjoy greater outdoor learning options this year.

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