NEW YORK — New York City public schools will fully reopen in September with no remote option, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
De Blasio first made the announcement during an interview on MSNBC “Morning Joe.”
“One million kids will be back in their classroom in September, all in-person, no remote,” the mayor said. “You can’t have a full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back sitting in those classrooms, kids learning again.”
Come Sept. 13, all students, educators and staffers are expected to return to the classroom full-time for the first time in 18 months.
“This will be the return to our new normal,” Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said.
The COVID response situation room will continue to monitor schools.
Masks will be required and social distancing protocols for guidance in the fall will be followed, the schools chancellor added.
Open houses will be held in June to ensure parents that schools will be safe for students to return.
The mayor also said there are several months for parents to get their questions answered.
For students with medical challenges, de Blasio said the city will resume the rules that have been in place before the start of the pandemic.
At least half of school staff members have been vaccinated, according to Porter. That number is expected to increase as September approaches.
New York City schools currently have a COVID-19 positivity rate of 0.16%, according to Porter.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement they want as many students back in schools “as safely as possible.”
“There is no substitute for in-person instruction. NYC educators want their students physically in front of them. We want as many students back in school as safely possible. We are glad the Department of Education will hold open houses to show parents how safe our schools are. We still have concerns about the safety of a small number of students with extreme medical challenges. For that small group of students, a remote option may still be necessary.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday based on the current trajectory of COVID cases, he does not think there are any reasons as to why schools should not be fully opened.
“We have to get kids back to school,” Cuomo said “Remote learning sounds fine and worked fine enough for some students, but some students paid a very heavy price for remote learning.”
The mayor previously said students won’t be required to receive COVID-19 vaccines despite Pfizer vaccine’s eligibility age lowered to those ages 12 to 15.
The mayor said he’s excited about the new approval for teenage use, but said health and safety measures in schools are getting the job done.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy also announced last week that all schools will reopen in September for full-time, in-person learning.