New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has announced school reopening in the Big Apple will be delayed for grades K-12.
On Thursday, De Blasio, with New York City Public Schools, outlined phased reopening plans for schools. The gradual process will take place over the course of the next two weeks beginning.
The announcement confirmed that in-person school will be delayed until October 1 for students in grades 8-12. The reopening of K-5 and K-8 schools will be delayed by one additional week and currently have a tentative return date of Sept. 29.
In-person learning for blended learning students will be phased-in across the next two weeks:
🔹 Sep 21: 3-K, pre-K, D75
🔹 Sep 29: K-5 and K-8 Schools
🔹 Oct 1: Middle and High Schools, Secondary Schools, Transfer, Adult Ed, Evening Schools, Alternate Learning Centers
— NYC Public Schools (@NYCSchools) September 17, 2020
During his press conference Thursday morning, De Blasio noted that the decision came after weeks of deliberation about physically returning to classes.
Although the Democratic mayor acknowledged that progress has been made, he made clear that there is still room for improvement.
“They acknowledged progress has been made but more had to be done to make sure that things would be as strong as they needed to be,” de Blasio said.
While he admitted that there is no form of education that can suffice for in-person learning, he insisted public health must be prioritized.
“Nothing replaces in-person learning. We believed from day one we could ensure health and safety first but also ensure the best quality education,” de Blasio said.
See de Blasio’s remarks below:
He added, “Everyone here at this table has devoted a lot of our lives to proving the power of public education to uplift every young person, knowing they will be our future. It has to be fair and equal.”
De Blasio’s decision to postpone the reopening of schools comes months after New York state was ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, New York City was initially declared the epicenter for coronavirus in the United States.
Although the state has made drastic improvements slowing the spread of coronavirus, statewide, there are still concerns about what the upcoming fall season will bring amid the ongoing pandemic.
As of Thursday morning, New York has reported nearly 480,000 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. With a total of 33,156 lives lost, New York also has the highest COVID death toll.
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