NYC public schools will fully reopen this fall without a remote option

May 24, 2021

Photo courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

New York City public schools will not offer a remote option for students next school year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. Starting on the first day of school on September 13, all students and school staff will return to the buildings full-time. “This is going to be crucial for families,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “So many parents are relieved, I know.”

According to Chalkbeat, 60 percent of the city’s one million public school students, or about 600,000 students, are currently in the remote learning program. De Blasio’s announcement that public schools will offer all-in person learning comes as the city’s coronavirus positivity drops to the lowest rate seen in seven months, and as vaccinations continue to increase.

“You can’t have a full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back sitting in those classrooms, kids learning again,” de Blasio said during an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday. “So, that’s what we’re going to have in September.”

As of now, the city will require masks in school buildings, there will be a COVID-19 testing program, and the three-foot social distancing rule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will remain in place. However, these policies could change as the city’s vaccination rate grows, according to de Blasio.

Children aged 12 to 15 years old were made eligible for the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month. Pfizer plans to submit requests for authorization of the vaccine in children ages 2 to 11 later this year.

After going fully remote last March in response to the pandemic, public schools in New York partially reopened last September, with a remote learning option. In November, schools shuttered as the citywide positivity rate hit 3 percent on a seven-day average, a metric established by the administration as part of the school reopening plan. Starting with students in pre-K and kindergarten, in-person learning returned late last year, with public high schools reopening this past March.


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