Friday, September 29, 2023
Courthouse News Service
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NYC Schools to Cut Remote Learning for Fall 2021

Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted that the CDC will further relax its social distancing guidelines for public schools by the start of the fall 2021 term.

MANHATTAN (CN) — Come September, New York City public schools will open fully in-person, with no option for students to attend school remotely, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. 

“One million kids will be back in their classroom in September, all in person, no remote,” de Blasio said of the country’s largest public school system, first breaking the news on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" before holding his own City Hall announcement

The mayor noted that nearly 8 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered in New York City so far, saying that Covid-19 rates are “plummeting.” 

“It’s just amazing to see the forward motion right now, the recovery that's happening in New York City,” de Blasio said. “But you can’t have a full recovery without full strength schools: everyone back, sitting in those classrooms, kids learning again.”

Public schools shut down in March 2020 and reopened in the fall of last year with both in-person and remote-learning options. Most parents chose to put their kids in school online only. 

The New York City school system’s Covid-19 testing program, which has included random screens of students and staff members, has reported very low rates of Covid-19 transmission. 

Mayor de Blasio attributed this success to masking, cleaning and ventilation, all of which will continue when schools go fully in-person for the fall — albeit a “different version for different times.” 

While the Centers for Disease Control and prevention currently recommend a distance of 3 feet between people in schools, in addition to universal masking, de Blasio said he believes the CDC will “be changing those rules quite a bit between now and September.”

"But right now in New York City, we could have every child three feet apart, we could make that work if we had to,” he said. 

De Blasio also encouraged parents to visit schools for a firsthand glimpse of safety precautions. 

"Anyone who has a question or concern, come into your child's school,” he said. “See what's going on, get the answers.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, was supportive of the move to return to schools in person. 

“There is no substitute for in-person instruction,” Mulgrew said in a statement Monday. “We want as many students back in school as safely possible.”