Mayor de Blasio announces new opt-in period for NYC public schools

Reopening Schools

New York City parents have another chance to opt-in their children for in-person learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.

The announcement comes hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed guidance on social distancing in classrooms. 

Under new guidelines, students can now sit 3 feet apart in classrooms, as opposed to the former 6-foot standard.

The opt-in period begins next week and more information is expected in the coming days, Mayor de Blasio said.

The opt-in period will be conducted in different pieces, beginning with 3K, pre-K, elementary and District 75 schools, the mayor said.

De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter are confident they can bring back a substantial amount of younger students in April.

The opt-in period is an opportunity for students to return to schools if they are currently not participating in in-person learning.

Middle and high school students will also be included in the opt-in period, so the city can have an idea on the number of older students who want to return to in-person learning, the mayor said.

“Our goal, as always, is to have as many kids in school as we can do appropriately, safely, smartly and as many kids in five-day-a-week instruction as possible,” the mayor said.

“Our schools are amongst the safest places to be,” said the schools chancellor.

“Our focus on health and safety will not change with the updated CDC guidance.”

The revised COVID-19 recommendations represent a turn away from the 6-foot standard that has forced some schools to remove desks, stagger scheduling and take other steps to keep children away from one another.

In-person learning for the school year began with staggered approach by grade — starting with elementary schools Sept. 29, followed by middle and high schools Oct. 1.

However, when the city reached a conservative 3% test positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average on Nov. 19, Mayor de Blasio shut down schools.

Elementary and special needs schools eventually reopened on Dec. 7. Middle schools followed Feb. 25.

High schools in the city are expected to reopen on Monday.

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