In an abrupt about-face, Mayor Bill DeBlasio reacted to a widespread backlash and reversed a decision made on Nov. 18 to close all schools amid a rise in local COVID-19 cases, reported the New York Times.
DeBlasio said the city is abandoning a 3-percent positive test threshold across the five boroughs as an indicator to close schools. Before Thanksgiving, the city’s positive rate was at 3.9 percent. Meanwhile, data shows schools have only been responsible for 0.23 percent of COVID-19 cases.
About 190,000 pre-kindergarten and elementary schoolchildren who already signed up for in-person learning are headed back to these classes on Dec. 7, with students with complex disabilities returning on Dec. 10. Middle and high school students will remain in virtual learning models, but DeBlasio indicated that the New York City Department of Education will give parents the option of sending their children to school five days a week, which the Times suggested would end the school system’s hybrid model.
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Another 145,000 students in these upper grades have also opted for an in-person model. In all, 1.1 million students attend New York City public schools.