New York City schools will be all in person this fall, with no remote options, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday. "We can't have a full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back, sitting in those classrooms," de Blasio said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, per the AP. The roughly 1 million students who attend traditional public schools will be in their classrooms with some version of the coronavirus protocols that have been in place in the current academic year, including mask wearing and COVID-19 testing, de Blasio said. "It's time. It's really time to go full strength now," he said. After closing schools in March 2020, New York City was one of the first large US cities to reopen school buildings in the fall of that year, but the majority of parents chose online-only learning for their children.
Children and staff who've been in physical schoolrooms have been randomly tested for COVID-19, and the city has reported very low rates of virus transmission in the schools. The head of the union that represents city teachers said that while there's "no substitute for in-person instruction," some students might still need a remote option. "We still have concerns about the safety of a small number of students with extreme medical challenges," said Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers. Asked how education officials could overcome the fears of parents who've chosen online-only learning, de Blasio said that "a lot of communication” would be the answer. He said parents would be invited to visit schools starting in June to get "reacclimated" to the idea.
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