“Schools will be opening in September,” New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday. He also outlined a host of safety precautions that will be put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus among the more than 1 million students and thousands of staff members at city schools.
Each school will have a maximum number of students allowed inside at a time, which de Blasio said may require some to stagger schedules. Students will be required to wear face masks, which will be provided with them for free. There will also be daily, deep cleanings of facilities and increased hand sanitizing and washing stations.
New York City’s schools have been closed since mid-March when de Blasio, after resisting calls to shut down the nation’s largest district, told students attending its 1,800 schools to stay home. Now, parents are ready to get their kids out of the house. According to a government survey of 450,000 families, 75 percent want their kids back in school in September, de Blasio said.
“They feel ready now. They know that’s what they want to do. So we’re full steam ahead for September,” said de Blasio.
This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that students resume in-person instruction this fall, citing both the reduced risk of children spreading the virus and negative learning outcomes, especially for low-income students when they’re are forced to “attend” school from a laptop at home. “The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020,” the AAP said.