Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday, including middle and high school students, that starting later this month, about 51,000 New York City public school students who have been learning remotely over the past year will be able to return to the classroom.
This announcement represents one of the most significant changes that it brought about last month guidance From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that schools can reduce social distancing between students in classrooms to three feet from six. For now, elementary schools will only convert to three feet.
Mr. de Blasio said that students in all grades who have registered for classes in person for the past several weeks will be able to return starting April 26. Previously, the city was only committed to bringing back elementary school students who wanted to switch to a personal classroom.
Although many families would like their children to return to the classroom, families of around 650,000 of the city’s roughly one million students decided to have them continue learning from home until the end of the school year in June. Families made this choice even though the transmission of infection in the city’s schools is very low, and tens of thousands of teachers have been fully vaccinated. Last week, the city also relaxed its school closure rule that has led to frequent temporary closures, disappointing many parents.
It is difficult to generalize why hundreds of thousands of families have chosen to keep their children at home. Some parents may prefer it A remote schedule for the next few months for consistency. Other families have expressed concern about the high test positive rates in New York City. Some parents of high school students in particular are concerned that their students will learn from their laptops even in the classroom.
Mr. de Blasio said he expects most schools will offer full-time education to all or most students for the final months of the school year, although some children will still be able to attend in person for only a few days a week. The mayor said the school system will be fully operational by September, with all students able to go to school full time.