All NYC school buildings will have a certified nurse: mayor

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Every public school building in the city will have a certified nurse on staff when students return in September, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

“Every single New York City public school building will have a certified nurse,” the mayor said at his briefing. “This is very important for people to hear and understand. We’re taking every precaution, but there’s a tremendous value to having a health professional present.”

De Blasio said NYC Health + Hospitals teams were working on the initiative, with a month to go before school starts on Sept. 10.

“They’re going to make sure we have enough nurses for every single public-school building,” the mayor said.

He said he's confident that Health + Hospitals can hire hundreds of contract nurses in the coming weeks.

"They hired thousands and thousands at the height of the pandemic in April. We’re talking about hundreds needed here, and again we’re a month out," de Blasio said. "So no question in my mind we’ll have them for the whole school year. I mean obviously the goal here is to get to a vaccine, get everyone vaccinated and go back to normal. But the plan, of course, is to be able to handle the whole school year."

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The move comes as the teachers and principals unions have expressed doubts about the city's plan for reopening schools.

The principals union is urging de Blasio to consider a phased-in approach that would see students return to school remotely on Sept. 10 and in-person by the end of the month.

Currently, the city's re-opening plans will allow for a mix of in-person and remote learning, with students taking turns in classrooms when they return in the fall.

More than a quarter of students have decided to go with the all-remote option, which will also be permitted.

About 15 percent of teachers have requested to be a remote teacher, and the city is working to approve them.

Asked what would happen if teachers and principals decided not to show up, de Blasio said, “it’s a professional reality” and “people have a job to do.”

"If they don’t have a medical accommodation, their job is to be there for their kids, and they understand that," the mayor said. "So people are going to complain—and that’s not saying that derogatorily. People are going to raise concerns, they’re going to raise fears. That’s all normal. And again, we absolutely saw this in every other field."

"But New Yorkers show up," he added. "So there’s not a question in my mind, people are going to show up, because it’s the right thing to do for our kids."

The mayor wouldn't answer a question about whether or not educators would be fired for not showing up.

"I'm not going to get into a hypothetical that I just don't buy into," he said.