New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a return to normal next fall for the nation's largest public school system, announcing Monday that classrooms will open for in-person instruction in September with no remote option.
Asked how the city would persuade hesitant parents to send their kids back to schools, de Blasio said they will be welcome to come check out facilities starting in June to see "how much has been done to keep [students] safe".
Schools will continue to follow COVID protocols, he said, including mask wearing and testing - but the testing will likely be conducted at random, rather than on a regular basis.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, the city's largest teachers union, wrote in the New York Daily News last week that the city must maintain a remote learning option for a limited number of families next school year.
-Distancing: De Blasio said he expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be soon adjusting the guidance on students requiring three feet of distance.
"We're going to set a statewide policy which will govern all school districts". You know, admitting that remote learning basically caused students to lose a year of learning.
De Blasio had previously sidestepped questions about a full return to school, but is now including it in his reopening plans as more people get vaccinated and children over the age of 12 are eligible for the Pfizer shot. "So, that's what we're going to have in September", he said. "It is going to be in our past as a crisis". De Blasio's announcement comes a week after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that there would be no remote option for that state's public school students come September.
Officials confirmed to Chalkbeat New York that with De Blasio's announcement, coronavirus-related remote teaching options will no longer be offered to educators in the fall.
The mayor is expected to provide more information about the school reopening plan in a news conference, but he said he expects the CDC to relax social-distancing rules, allowing for more students to attend school safely.
De Blasio said city schools would be able to accommodate all students under current guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for 3 feet of separation, but he speculated that the standard may be relaxed before the city's public schools open on September 13. The governor also announced that 15 state parks in NY will open pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Phil Mickelson makes history with PGA Championship win
The regression we expected for Phil happened, too, as he hit only half of the fairways and also lost strokes on the greens. But he snapped a 20-hole bogey-free stretch at the 12th, then hooked his drive into the water at 13 and made double bogey.