NEW YORK CITY — Tens of thousands of New York City middle school students returned to their school buildings on Thursday for the first time since the fall.
Teachers were back in school buildings Wednesday, preparing for in-person classes after several months of all-remote learning.
About 62,000 students in grades 6 through 8, and 60,000 staff members, were expected to return to 149 buildings and 335 schools, according to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
“We’re really excited,” Carranza said Wednesday during an interview on the PIX11 Morning News.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that bringing middle schoolers back to the classroom will give them an opportunity to learn from “talented, committed, passionate educators.”
Middle schools have been shuttered since November, when a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations prompted the city to close all buildings and shift students to remote learning.
Elementary school students were the first to be brought back into the classroom in December, along with more intense COVID-19 testing and tracing protocols.
Recent guidance from the state Department of Education suggesting that the city could not mandate parents sign COVID-19 testing consent forms for their children to return to the classroom threatened to derail the middle school reopening plans, however, Carranza said the state DOE has since revised its position.
High School students, meanwhile, are still waiting for the green light to resume in-person learning.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday he is “hopeful” that more information on high schools reopening will be available in the coming weeks.
The city also continues its efforts to vaccinate public school teachers. The mayor said about 30,000 educators have been vaccinated, as of Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.