New York City Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday he is considering the possibility of a return to temporary remote learning for students amid the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Speaking at a news conference, Adams said he was working with leadership at United Federation of Teachers, the union representing most of the city’s public school teachers, to determine the best path forward.

“I am working closely with the president of the UFT,” he said. “And we will find the right way to educate our children in a very safe environment and if we’re able to put in place a temporarily remote option, we’re welcome to do so.”

Adams stressed, however, that while he was open to remote learning, his hope was to keep children in schools.

“I want children in school because it’s not only the academics. You hear me say it all the time. It is the holistic approach the full development of the personhood of the children. All the experts state they should be in school,” he said.

Image: High School students stage walkout to urge officials to offer remote learning options due to COVID-19 saftey concerns in New York (Mike Segar / Reuters)

Still, Adams’ comments appeared to represent a shift in his stance just days ago when he said he suggested that the current model of remote learning was not an option.

“The last time we did a remote option, children were not learning and you can’t have a false remote option,” he said last Friday in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Adams said he planned to “build out one of the best remote learning processes in our country,” but he said he needed “time to do so.” Until then, he said: “We can’t continue to hurt the education of our children.”

“We need children in school and that is what I’m going to do as long as I know I can do it in a healthy way and we believe we can do that and we proved that,” he said.

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