Public schools in NYC will resume in-person classes starting early December, New York City (NYC) Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced.
The new weekly testing requirement represents a jump from the once-a-month testing schools participated in before de Blasio closed them on November 19 - when the city positivity rate hit the 3 percent threshold previously decided as the marker to shutter public schools.
School programs serving special-needs students at all grade levels will open to in-person learning starting December 10, de Blasio said.
NY expects to receive its first 170,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government by mid-December, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday as he expressed doubt about the distribution of the shot throughout the state.
Since then, de Blasio suggested, relatively low numbers of positive coronavirus tests at schools show that it's possible to keep schools open even with a citywide test positivity rate over 3%.
"We are now anxious about overwhelming the hospital system, and if these numbers continue to increase, which we expect they will, you will see serious stress on the hospital system", Cuomo said.
Carranza also set out a plan to safely reopen school buildings for in-person instruction with more rigorous testing protocols in place as the city is striving to recover from the raging pandemic. Tests will be soon be carried out in schools on a weekly, not monthly, basis, but only about a fifth of students will be tested in a given week.
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NY state has a 4.5% positivity rate now, Cuomo said. On Monday, Chancellor Richard Carranza said principals are now analyzing if their respective schools can accommodate students on a full-week schedule, but the mayor said that it is likely that the majority of elementary and District 75 schools now scheduled to re-open would be able to offer in-person instruction five days a week.
- The state's positivity rate sat at 4.21%.
"We're going to address in the future of middle school and high school, but we're not ready for those yet".
Chokshi said more than 1,100 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city on Tuesday, double the number from three weeks ago. "We're going to manage it".
Authorities in NY are lifting the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Those who don't will not be allowed to attend in-person classes, de Blasio said.
"Getting our kids back in school buildings is one of the single most important things we can do for their wellbeing, and it's so important that we do it right", said Carranza. "We all agree that we have a different reality than what we had in the summer and that this is now the way forward and the best way to protect everyone", de Blasio said.