Nov. 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City public schools will reopen in-person learning to elementary school students next Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday.
Students in 3-K and Pre-K programs as well as those in grades K through 5 will return to school buildings on Monday, Dec. 7. Students with disabilities will return to District 75 school buildings days later, on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Middle schoolers and high schoolers will continue remote learning for the time being, de Blasio said.
“Reopening our buildings is paramount to our city’s recovery from COVID-19,” he said in a statement. “That’s why we are doubling down on the safety and health measures that work to make in-person learning a reality for so many of our students.”
As part of the reopening plan, the city has committed to increase COVID-19 testing at schools. Every school will participate in random testing of 20 percent of their in-person population once a week.
The new weekly testing requirement represents a jump from the once-a-month testing schools participated in before de Blasio closed them on Nov. 19 — when the city positivity rate hit the 3 percent threshold previously decided as the marker to shutter public schools.
De Blasio said the 3 percent threshold for closing schools would be tossed and instead the city will assess potential closures based on individual schools testing data and cases.
All parents of students who have opted for in-person learning must fill out a mandatory consent form allowing their child to be tested for COVID-19 — unless they have a medical exemption. Parents can fill out the form online through their schools account.
The most recent positivity rate at city public schools is 0.28 percent or 453 positive cases out of 159,842 tests, according to the mayor’s office. The most recent 7-day rolling average positivity rate for all of New York City is 3.9 percent, de Blasio said.
The mayor also announced Sunday that public schools would work toward teaching students in-person five days a week. Currently, most students who opted for the in-person learning attend classes two or three times a week and learn online the other days of the week.
De Blasio said he hopes to see schools reach this goal for the more than 330,000 students who selected in-person in the coming weeks.