About a million children in New York are set to return to classrooms on Monday - most of them for the first time since the closure of the largest school system in the states -United in March 2020.
As the city reopened its schools last fall for part-time learning, the vast majority of students opted to continue learning at a distance. But as no distance option did exist. 'is now available to almost all parents, the classrooms will be full for the first time in a year and a half.
For months, Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted that the first day of school would be a triumphant coda in New York City's long recovery from the pandemic.
"This will be one of those game -change days, one of those days we remember when we turn to Covid, "the mayor said at a press conference last week.
But the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has complicated the city's efforts to fully reopen schools andleft many families and educators worried about what the next few months will bring.
In May, in the midst of a rapid rollout of the vaccine and 'a rapid decline in the number of virus cases, Mr de Blasio announced that the city does not currently offer distance education to most of the students. (A few thousand children the city considers medi to be very vulnerable will still be able to learn from home.) His announcement drew little political resistance in the spring, but his administration faced increasing pressure from parents and parents. politicians to reconsider their decision.
Around 600,000 families, mostly black and Latino, have allowed their children to learn language at home last year. This year, while parents are much more receptive to the reopening of schools, some say they would like to at leastmake their young children eligible for the vaccine. Only children 12 and over are currently eligible, and younger ones can only be eligible later in the year, at the earliest.
The mayor remained determined that the school year will run normally, even though security measures are in place. But it's still possible that a major school transmission this fall could force many school buildings - or even the entire system - to shut down temporarily.
Schools in the city saw remarkably low virus transmission in their buildings last year, but most schools had significantly reduced capacity. Even with a transmission rate of 0.03% at the end of last year, quarantines were still common.
This year, at least one certain level of disturbance est unavoidable. Image About 600,000 families, mostly black and Latino, provided their children with a home learning opportunity last year. Credit ... Jose A. Alvarado Jr. for Hfrance.fr
Mr. de Blasio admitted that he didn 't expect all children to actually go back to school this week, as some parents have informed their principals that they want to wait a few days or even weeks, to see how the reopening is going.
A similar situation has already occurred in Dallas, where some parents have kept their children at home for the start of the school year school. Since then, the students havet started to return to classrooms in greater numbers.
But Meisha Porter, the school 's chancellor, said last week that the Children 's Services Administration could become involved if families refuse to return their children after several weeks.
New quarantine policy announced by the city will almost certainly result in frequent class closures in the short term.
In elementary schools, where children are still too young to be vaccinated, a case positive in a classroom will lead to a 10-day quarantine and a switch to distance learning, for the whole class.
In middle and high schools , only unvaccinated students will need to quarantine if exposed to someone infected with the virus, meaning that unvaccinated studentsvaccinated people might have a very different school year than their vaccinated peers. More than 60 percent of New York City children eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose, but the city does not know how many of them children attend its public schools.
Although the city's quarantine protocol is more conservative than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, New York's school testing plan is more modest than the CDC calls, alarming some parents and public health experts.
A 10 percent random sample of unvaccinated students will be tested in each school every two weeks; the city was testing 20 percent of people in all school buildings every week at the end of last year. Experts said the city's current test plan will almost certainly be too small for astop many epidemics before they start.
New York has gone beyond most districts in the country in implementing the target a complete vaccination mandate for all its educators , as well as all adults who work in school buildings. The mayor said he believed the tenure, along with increasing immunization rates for eligible students, would help keep schools as safe this year as they were last year. .