NEW YORK — In the first week of the academic year, more than 800 students and staff in New York City’s public school system tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the closure of hundreds of classrooms, according to Department of Education data.
As of Friday evening, there was an 812 cumulative total of positive cases, consisting of 325 staff members and 487 students, data showed.
As a result of the positive cases, there are currently 372 classroom closures and an additional 303 partial classroom closures, meaning only some class members may need to quarantine depending on vaccination status since most students — in middle and high school — are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
There are another 56 non-classroom quarantines, which happens when a school staff member who wouldn’t necessarily be in a classroom tests positive, triggering an individual quarantine that would not affect an entire class.
One school, P.S. 79 in East Harlem, was forced to close as a result of the cases, data shows.
Students will pivot to remote learning during this time and reopen on Sept. 28, a DOE spokesperson told PIX11.
Nearly 60 classrooms across the five boroughs were closed within the first two days of school, according to DOE data.
The DOE reported an 82.4% attendance rate for the first day of school — up from around 80% in 2020. In 2019, the last full school year prior to the pandemic, the attendance rate was around 90%.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has stressed the need for students to return to the classroom.
“Kids need to be back in school for their mental health, their physical health, their ability to develop socially, and for so many reasons,” he said Monday.
Full-time, in-person learning started on Monday for about 1 million New York City public school students despite the persistence of the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19.
Associated Press contributed to this report.