NEW YORK CITY — In an abrupt reversal, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday that public elementary schools will reopen Dec. 7, only 10 days after announcing their closure amid a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to The New York Times, de Blasio’s reversal followed “widespread criticism that officials were placing more of a priority on economic activities like indoor dining than the well-being of New York City’s children.”
Meanwhile, middle and high schools will remain closed, but de Blasio signaled he will revamp the city’s management of the 1.1 million-student school system as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the city.
The Dec. 7 reopening for in-person learning applies to 3-K, pre-K and kindergarten through fifth grade, and the city’s District 75 schools, which serve students with special needs, will reopen for all grade levels on Dec. 10, Fox News reported.
“One of the things that’s been very clear is folks wanted school to keep moving forward and be open so long as it could be done safely,” de Blasio said during a Sunday news conference.
“A lot of people have been saying, rightfully, a lot of parents, we’ve heard your voices loud and clear: You wanted schools back open, but we’re going to ask everyone to be a part of that, everyone to participate to make it work,” de Blasio added.
Specifically, de Blasio said that the city will abandon a 3% COVID-19 test positivity threshold it had previously adopted for closing the school system and that the systemwide goal is to provide parents the option of sending their children to school five days per week, the Times reported.
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