New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that public schools are set to reopen in phases for in-person learning starting December 7.
In-person learning at preschools, 3-K programs and elementary schools will open on that date.
Then schools that serve children with special educational needs, known as District 75 schools, will open on December 10 and middle schools and high schools will reopen at a later, yet to be determined, date.
The schools, which make up the country’s largest school system, have been closed since November 19 after the citywide rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive exceeded the three percent benchmark agreed to by the mayor and the teachers’ union.
‘It’s a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be,’ De Blasio said at Sunday’s coronavirus briefing, saying the three percent benchmark was being scrapped.
‘We feel confident that we can keep schools safe,’ he added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that public schools are set to reopen in phases for in-person learning starting December 7
The mayor’s office said the city will move towards providing in-person learning five days per week.
The mayor estimated that some 190,000 students enrolled in the public schools will be eligible to return the week of December 7 and returning students must have a parent consent form.
When the schools reopen, weekly coronavirus testing will take place for students and faculty.
As of Saturday New York City has reported more than 289,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 19,580 deaths.
Nationally, there have been more than 13million COVID-19 cases reported and more than 266,000 deaths.
However, not all New Yorkers are on board with the Mayor’s plans. Many parents voiced their outrage on social media following the announcement as the trajectory of the virus only grows more somber, exacerbated by holiday travel.
‘@NYCMayor is going to kill our kids in NYC. Reopening schools due to political pressure, rather than based on science and current virus trends. We’re spiking like crazy, we’re heading towards we’re we were in March/April. And he reopens schools,’ one Twitter user said.
‘Bruh.. Make up your mind. Cases are rising you closed schools originally because we passed the threshold. Case counts continue to rise every single day. Make up your mind, it’s not fair to parents, teachers, and most importantly the students,’ another Twitter user added.
Schoolteacher Melissa Wong packs up the classroom that she appropriated for virtual teaching just a couple of months earlier at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York City on November 19
The news comes as the nation’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are skyrocketing.
The number of coronavirus patients currently being treated in hospitals across the country has nearly doubled in the last month, hitting more than 91,000 over the Thanksgiving weekend.
As of Saturday 91,635 Americans were hospitalized with the virus, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
The rate of hospitalizations – now at the highest level since the pandemic began – comes after weeks of rising infection rates nationwide, with 16 states reporting record numbers of daily new cases on Thursday and Friday.
Now health officials fear that holiday travel starting with Thanksgiving will only fuel the surge.
Dr Celine Gounder, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, offered a grave warning about forthcoming spikes on Saturday.
Dr Celine Gounder, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, warned on Saturday that many Americans who celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends could end up in the hospital or ICU by Christmas
‘We fully expect that in about a week or two after Thanksgiving we will see an increase in cases first, then about a week or two later you’ll start to see an increase in hospitalizations, and then another week or two after that you’ll start to see deaths,’ Gounder told CBS News, noting that symptoms of the virus can develop up to 14 days after exposure.
‘Unfortunately, that means that many people who celebrated with family, with friends over Thanksgiving will find themselves in the hospital, in ICUs over Christmas and New Years,’ she added.