NEW YORK — Families with children in public school want to know what the next school year will look like. They are getting a chance to ask questions and offer input in a series of virtual forums with Chancellor Meisha Porter.

What You Need To Know

  • The city is holding five virtual forums for parents around the city to weigh in on reopening

  • At the first forum, held for Staten Islanders, plenty of big questions went largely unanswered

  • The city has not yet rolled out details about the next school year, but has said the goal is for all students ot be in-person every day

“We are going to share some of our thinking. But we really, really, really want to hear from all of you,” Porter said at the first of these forums.

But, if that forum, held for Staten Island families on Monday, is any indication, many of the common questions may be left unanswered.

That includes a question at the top of the list for many parents -- and which was submitted to the chancellor at the meeting:

“When will we know for sure, if schools in Staten Island will be back to 100% of capacity five days a week. And with that capacity of all kids, will there be any chance that there's not enough room to fit?”

“So that is the question of the night,” Porter responded. “And so you should know, Staten Island, you know, we are working really hard at the Department of Education to ensure that we can get all of our students back in person, but as you know, health and safety first. And so right now, that is what we're working towards.”

Porter says the city is awaiting further guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, but offered no guarantee of full capacity or details on plans to make that work logistically. She did outline some policies that, as of now, will remain in place this fall.

“Right now based on where we are with the pandemic, we will continue mask wearing. We will continue some level of social distancing. We will continue testing. And we will continue,most importantly, to encourage everyone to get vaccinated that is eligible to be vaccinated,” she said, cautioning that things could change.

The forum also sought feedback from parents on how the department should spend new stimulus dollars it received from the federal government. Four more forums are planned, for families in:

  • Manhattan on  Monday, May 24, 2021
  • Queens on Thursday, May 27, 2021
  • Brooklyn on Monday, June 7, 2021
  • The Bronx on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The first day of the next school year is set for Monday, September 13.