New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday that his city’s school system, the largest in the United States, is not going to offer any remote learning options come fall time, requiring all 1.1 million students to get back to the classroom for in-person learning.
The current school year has seen NYC schools offer a hybrid of weekly in-class learning for three days a week and remotely for two days, reversing the pattern on an alternating pattern. However, most parents have just opted to keep their children home for remote learning all five days.
However, neither of those options will be available for parents come fall.
“It’s time for everyone to come back, it’s time for us all to be together, time to do things the way they were meant to be done,” the mayor stated at a press briefing.
“We’re going to have plenty of protections in place as we proved, even during the toughest months of COVID, that we can keep kids and staff safe with a gold standard of health and safety measures,” he continued.
“You can’t have a full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back sitting in those classrooms, kids learning again,” de Blasio said while conducting an interview Monday on MSNBC. “And that’s what’s going to happen in September.”
In New York City, the share of residents testing positive for the virus on a seven-day average dropped to 0.71% on Saturday from 2.48% on March 8, according to state data.
Nearly half of the U.S. population has had at least one dose of a vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New York, 52% of residents have had at least one shot, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.
Given the declining number of new COVID-19 cases, de Blasio said he expected the CDC to relax its current guidelines that require students to maintain social distancing of three feet (one meter) before the start of the next school year.
“We have seen the CDC moving constantly with the data,” the mayor said. “The fact is clear to me that as more data comes in, more progress, they’re going to make adjustments.”
The Food and Drug Administration has just this month approved the Pfizer made COVID vaccine for kids as young as 12-years-old. Moderna has stated that it is seeking approval for a vaccine for children also.