STATE OF OUR SCHOOLS: Mayor, schools chancellor unveil COVID-19 protocols for upcoming school year

Despite calls from many for the city to provide a remote-learning option, the Department of Education and mayor are doubling down on their decision to bring all students back into the classroom for in-person learning.

News 12 Staff

Aug 26, 2021, 5:28 PM

Updated 972 days ago

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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter today unveiled a series of anxiously awaited COVID-19 safety protocols.
Despite calls from many for New York City to provide a remote-learning option, the Department of Education and mayor are doubling down on their decision to bring all students back into the classroom for in-person learning.
But the two announced today that there will be a remote learning option for students who need to quarantine due to a positive COVID test in the classroom.
Chancellor Porter says they do not expect many school closures this year, but in the event of a positive case a classroom will close for 10 days.
For elementary students who must undergo a quarantine period, there will be a live, online learning option. But for middle and high schoolers, there will be access to remote learning and school worksheets.
Any unvaccinated students that are exposed to a positive COVID case must quarantine for seven days and submit a negative COVID test to the DOE's vaccination portal before returning to the classroom. Vaccinated students that are exposed may remain in the classroom as long as they are asymptomatic, though they are encouraged to get tested.
Chancellor Porter also says that anyone entering a DOE building will be expected to complete a health screening prior to entry and must wear masks.
Schools will provide 3 feet of social distancing wherever possible, and two air purifiers will be installed in every classroom. Extra-large air purifiers and window exhaust fans will be installed into high school cafeterias.
The DOE will also expand its pre-existing home instruction program for medically fragile students, which can include either digital learning or in-person instruction with a certified teacher.
Mayor de Blasio says the decision to bring students back to full-time in-person learning is crucial for students' educational and emotional well-being. The goal is to continue to keep the positivity rate in school buildings low with the addition of vaccines and testing 10% of every school's population monthly.
The plan is being laid out just days after the city announced that all New York City public school teachers and other staffers will be required to get vaccinated before returning the classroom, with no op-out COVID testing option.
All school employees, including contractors who work in schools, will have to at least get a first dose of a COVID vaccine by Sept. 27.
School will begin on Sept. 13 for the city's roughly 1 million public school students.


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