New York Daily News: MANHATTAN, NY – Kids, grab your backpacks. Again.
New York City schools are set to reopen in stages starting December 7, Mayor de Blasio said Sunday.
In-person learning at pre-school, 3-K programs and elementary schools is on track to start on that date, followed by District 75 schools that provide special education on December 10. That covers about 190,000 students, de Blasio said. Middle and high schools will reopen at a date still to be determined.
“We have a different reality than what we had in the summer and … this is now the way forward and the best way to protect everyone,” Hizzoner said.
The announcement came as coronavirus is expected to keep surging in the city. De Blasio said he was ditching his previous approach to schools, under which they could only be open if the rolling average of positive COVID tests was below 3%. The positivity rate is the number of positive tests for a length of time divided by the total number of tests for the same time period.
Instead, the city will boost testing at schools and rely on its “situation room” to determine when to close individual sites.
“If they find something that requires temporary closure, there’s always an investigation to determine the larger ramifications, and then acting accordingly on what the situation room and our Test & Trace team finds,” Hizzoner said. “That’s been tremendously effective. We’re going to stick with that.”
Under the new approach, 20% of every student body will be tested every week. That’s up from the previous requirement of monthly testing for random groups of students. Testing consent forms will be required for students to be allowed back for in-person learning.
Public schools have been closed since Nov. 19, when spiking coronavirus cases prompted the city to shut down in-person learning.
The move marked a major setback in the city’s reopening, which began over the summer but has been pared down as coronavirus surges in the Big Apple and beyond.
“This will be the model for the duration. This is what is going to take us through to when we have a vaccine and we when can start to then open up a lot more in our schools,” de Blasio said.
“We do not want a situation where there was constant changes,” he added. “We’re tying to get to something that is as consistent as possible.”