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Business News/ News / World/  New York City schools reopen from December 7 in phased manner
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New York City schools reopen from December 7 in phased manner

The reopening would begin with pre-kindergarten classes through elementary school

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, with the Reverend Al Sharpton (R), speaks during a Memorial for former New York Mayor David Dinkins at the National Action Network in New York, on November 28, 2020. - Dinkins, New York City's first and so far only Black mayor, died at 93 on November 23. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (AFP)Premium
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, with the Reverend Al Sharpton (R), speaks during a Memorial for former New York Mayor David Dinkins at the National Action Network in New York, on November 28, 2020. - Dinkins, New York City's first and so far only Black mayor, died at 93 on November 23. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (AFP)

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that New York City schools will begin a phased reopening on Dec. 7, abandoning the 3% positive test rate threshold for Covid-19 he set earlier for closing the schools.

The reopening would begin with pre-kindergarten classes through elementary school. Special education would begin three days later. The city is “not ready" to begin opening middle and high schools yet, he said.

“There’s less concern about the spread when it comes to younger kids," de Blasio said in a news conference. “And I feel for all our parents who are experiencing so many challenges right now."

Under the new plan, testing will be required weekly in schools, replacing the monthly requirement earlier. Instead of using the 3% positive rate threshold, the city will now make decisions on future school closures based on a number of factors, including the safety measures at the school and additional testing results. And schools should move to 5-day a week in-person learning “wherever possible," eventually shifting away from a hybrid model, he added.

Mayor de Blasio shut the schools on Nov. 19 after the city positive test rate rose above 3%, the level set earlier this year for shuttering schools again. He has faced criticism that he prioritized indoor dining over keeping the schools running and safe.

About 330,000 students will be qualified for in-person teaching under the current reopening plan, de Blasio said. Parents will need sign testing consent forms before their kids are allowed to attend school.

Although the city doesn’t have a time-line for reopening middle schools and high schools, de Blasio said it is still possible to bring back schools “a huge number of kids five days a week in the spring, if all goes well with the vaccine."

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Published: 30 Nov 2020, 12:20 PM IST
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