NEW YORK CITY — New York City’s public middle schools will once again welcome students back to the classroom in the coming weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced Monday.
The largest public school system in the country will reopen its middle schools later in February, Miranda Barbot, spokesperson for the Department of Education, confirmed on Twitter earlier.
Barbot quoted and shared a link to a New York Times report of the news, calling it, “another step toward a full reopening.”
De Blasio confirmed the news at his briefing, saying teachers for grades six through eight will return to the classroom Wednesday, Feb. 24, with students following the next day on Feb. 25.
Carranza said that of the 471 middle schools, about half will open on Feb. 25 offering five-day-a-week instruction. Other middle schools will reprogram in order to get to the goal of a five-day week, he said.
As middle schools reopen, the city will hire additional staff for the situation room and weekly testing in schools will continue, the mayor and schools chancellor said.
Staff returning to in-person work will receive priority at the city’s vaccine hubs from Feb. 12 to 21 and over the mid-winter recess, according to the schools chancellor.
According to the Times, approximately 62,000 of the city’s 196,000 junior-high students will be able to return to classrooms. These students must have already signed up for the in-person learning option in 2020.
Middle schools across the city have been closed since November when Mayor Bill de Blasio called on all public schools to shut their doors as the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate reached a pre-set threshold.
Then in December, de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced the city’s pre-K and elementary students, as well as children with disabilities, would return to the classroom for in-person learning.
New York City high schools will remain closed for now.