NYC school system, largest in the US, to begin phased reopening in December

admin Posted: 2020-11-30 01:52:33
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that the city will no longer use its previous threshold for closing schools.
    ANDREW BURTON / GETTY IMAGES

New York City Schools Will Reopen With New COVID-19 Testing Protocol

Just 10 days after closing New York City's schools because of rising coronavirus cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that the nation's largest school district will begin a phased reopening next week.

On Dec. 7, buildings will reopen for elementary school students and on Dec. 10, District 75, which serves students with disabilities, will reopen.
[size=1em]Students can only return if they have already signed up for in-person learning. About 190,000 elementary students and their parents must sign a consent form. In total, about 335,000 students out of the 1.1 million in the city have chosen in-person classes. While de Blasio has not announced a timeline for reopening middle or high schools, any school with enough space will eventually move toward in-person classes five days a week, instead of hybrid online and in-person classes.


Previously, the city had a rule that schools had to close if the city reached a 3% testing positivity rate, which caused New York City public schools to close for in-person learning on Nov. 19. The mayor said the city will no longer use that rule.

"Getting our kids back in school buildings is one of the single most important things we can do for their wellbeing, and it's so important that we do it right," Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said in a statement. "The unparalleled value of in-person learning for students has been evident in the first few months of school, and we will do everything we can to keep our schools safe and keep them open for the duration of this pandemic."

De Blasio said in a press conference that he is focusing on lower grades "because we know studies consistently show younger kids are having less of a negative experience and there is less concern about the spread when it comes to younger kids." He added that it is important to have young kids in schools "both educationally and socially."
Every student and staff member must consent to weekly random COVID-19 testing for 20% of those who attend classes in-person.

"Upon reopening, weekly COVID-19 testing will be in effect and testing consent forms will be required for our students to return," de Blasio tweeted. "Finally, as we reopen, wherever possible we will move to 5 day a week in-person learning. We want our kids in the classroom for as much time as possible. Our families do, too. We'll work to make it happen."

New York City's teachers union said it supported the plan on the condition of stringent testing. "At our insistence, much stricter testing measures will be in place in all schools," the United Federation of Teachers said on Twitter.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who frequently and publicly disagrees with de Blasio, told reporters Sunday that the mayor's school reopening plan is "the right direction." Cuomo has ultimate say over schools under the current state of emergency.

"We do have new facts and new information on schools and just about every professional says the schools, especially [grades] K through eight, should be kept open whenever it's possible to keep them open," the governor said.

On Sunday, 130 patients were admitted to hospitals and there were 1,636 new cases of the virus in the city, the mayor said. The weekly average infection rate is 3.9%.

NYC school system, largest in the US, to begin phased reopening in December

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasioannounced Sunday that the city’s public school system, the largest in the U.S., would begin phased reopening of schools starting in December.
The schools were closed less than two weeks ago after the citywide rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive exceeded a 3% benchmark agreed to by the mayor and teachers’ union. De Blasio said the 3% benchmark was being scrapped/
“It’s a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be,” de Blasio told reporters.
Pre-kindergarten classes will reopen Dec. 7 for students whose parents agree to a weekly testing regimen for the virus. Schools that serve children with special educational needs, known as District 75 schools, will reopen Dec. 10. De Blasio said middle schools and high schools would reopen at later dates that had not yet been set.


Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, who joined the mayor at a news conference, said with the new measures he believed the city could “safely and successfully keep our schools open for the duration of this pandemic.”
The city has more than 1 million public school students. As of the end of October, only about 25% of students had gone to class in school this fall, far fewer than officials had expected.
New York City’s school system, like others across the nation, halted in-person learning in mid-March as the virus spiked.
While many big U.S. school districts later decided to start the fall term with online learning, de Blasio pushed for opening schoolhouse doors.

The reopening date, originally set for Sept. 10,was postponed twice as teachers, principals and some parents said safety precautions and staffing were inadequate, with the teachers’ union at one point threatening to strike.
The city agreed to changes, including hiring thousands more teachers and testing 10% to 20% of all students and staffers per month for the virus.








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