'If not now, when?': Mayor Spano calls for Yonkers students to return to in-person learning
It's been nearly 12 months Yonkers has had full-time, in-class learning for it's 27,000 students - and Mayor Mike Spano insists the time is now to bring them back.
"There's no better way to educate a child than to have them sitting in a classroom. Having that structure, having that teacher in a classroom, that's what we want. That's what we need," says Spano.
He says he wants all students, starting with grades K-8, in the classroom four days a weeks as soon as possible, while safely wearing masks and following all CDC protocols.
"The vaccinations have started. We're seeing a drop in the infection rate. If not now, when?" says the mayor.
But not so fast, cautions Samatha Rosado Cirello, the head of the Yonkers teachers union. She wants kids back in school too- but insists the district needs rapid testing at all the schools and says more of the population, including teachers, need to have access to a vaccine.
"Safer must be a priority. Even now in March - 70% of families don't feel safe sending our kids to school and 75% of staff still don't feel safe," she says.
City Hall puts the infection rate at Yonkers Public Schools at about 2% -- 121 cases out of 27,000. But it's not low enough for some Yonkers parents.
Still other parents who spoke with News 12 are ready to send their children and back into the schools- albeit with some reservations.