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MANHATTAN — New York City Schools Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter is pushing for students to get vaccinated as the return to school begins next month.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that nearly 72,000 children and teenagers were infected with COVID-19 last week.

Health experts say since no children under 12 can be vaccinated, that could leave more children susceptible to the virus which is concerning as parents gear up for the new school year.

Ross Porter says on top of the pandemic, there was a crisis of young kids being socially isolated and missing school and their friends. She’s reminding everyone that there are many vaccination opportunities across the city.

“We got to get our babies vaccinated,” Ross Porter said “We have to get our families vaccinated. We have to keep each other safe. We have to do it for our communities to thrive in the way that they need to do.”

The schools chancellor adds that nothing replaces the interaction between a teacher and a student in the classroom which is one of the many reasons why she’s pushing for the younger population to get the vaccine.

As it stands right now, schools will reopen on September 13 to welcome students back to the classroom full time for the first time in a year and a half.