New York’s public elementary schools to begin reopening on December 7

Public elementary schools in New York, the reopening will begin Dec. 7, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday. The largest public school system in the country closed on November 19 when the city reached a seven-day COVID-19 test positivity average of 3%, but de Blasio said on Sunday that the metric would no longer be used.

Middle and high schools will remain closed. There are approximately 1.1 million students in New York City’s public school system, and approximately 330,000 students could be eligible to return to school under this plan. But students who have opted for full distance learning will not be able to opt for full in-person education at this time, which means the number of returning students will be well below 330,000.

If they have already opted for in-person learning, students in grades K-5, Pre-K and 3K will be able to return to in-person instruction five days a week starting December 7. Later in the week, December 10, schools in the special education program known as District 75 will reopen.

Students can only return to school if they have returned consent forms agreeing to be part of a random test for COVID-19. The previous plan tested a random sample of students each month – the new plan will test students each week.

New York City Announces School Closure Again Due to Coronavirus
An empty classroom with the lights out on what would otherwise be a blended learning school day on November 19, 2020 at Yung Wing School PS 124 in New York City.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

“Whatever happens, we want this to be the plan for the future because now we think we know what we didn’t know this summer,” de Blasio said at a press conference on Sunday. “We know what works from real experience and we know that if you put a lot of emphasis on testing and continually strengthen these health and safety measures … We know you can keep people safe. schools throughout the duration and make connections till date. we have the vaccine that changes all of reality for all of us. ”

De Blasio’s press conference on Sunday marks another change in the city’s plan to reopen schools. This summer, the city had pushed forward with the reopening of all schools and the use of the 3% metric. But even in September, school openings have been delayed twice as the city and the school system grappled with difficult logistical and political issues.

The positivity rate among schoolchildren in New York City was extremely low during the eight-week opening of schools this fall. De Blasio insisted on Sunday that the school’s security plan would remain the same, including masks and social distancing.

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