Yonkers Students Return To Classrooms

For the first time during the pandemic, Yonkers schools are offering in-person learning four days a week. CBS2's Tony Aiello reports.

Video Transcript

- For the first time during the pandemic, Yonkers schools now offer in-person learning four days a week. Students returned to class on this rainy day with the outlook for schools the actual sunniest it's been in years, thanks to newfound political power for New York's fourth largest city. CBS2's Tony Aiello has the story.

TONY AIELLO: Temperature checks at the door, plexiglass in the classrooms-- some of the precautions as Yonkers schools reopen after spring break with a four-day-a-week in-person option.

EILEEN RIVERA: This is, like, a grand reopening for us. It's an amazing day.

TONY AIELLO: Principal Eileen Rivera says 75% of Montessori Academy students signed up for the in-person option. Maribel Valentine says after a year of learning at home, her son was a little apprehensive.

MARIBEL VALENTIN: Love you. Have a great day, baby.

I think he eventually will be excited to see his friends and I think eventually he'll warm up to it again.

TONY AIELLO: At Thompson School, Superintendent Edwin Quezada gave legislators a tour and popped into one classroom where students were studying the food chain.

There is a food chain of sorts at the State Capitol in Albany. And this year, Yonkers finally has someone at the apex.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the most powerful woman in the history of the state legislature. She appointed her close ally, Yonkers Senator Shelley Mayer, to chair the Education Committee. And together, they're providing a record $345 million in state funding to chronically-shortchanged Yonkers schools.

ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS: There was always an excuse not to actually put the money where the courts had said the money should go.

TONY AIELLO: Every high-needs district in New York is getting more money in the new budget. In Yonkers, it means cuts are off the table and some previous cuts can be restored.

- You will see more psychologists, you will see more art, music, physical education teachers. All of those will be added to our system.

TONY AIELLO: It's the first budget in 20 years that won't have Yonkers begging for more money. Tony Aiello, CBS2 News.

- And districts statewide are also celebrating additional federal funding from the COVID Recovery Stimulus Package. In Yonkers it's quite a windfall-- more than $100 million.