New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday said that the city’s public schools will reopen on December 7 for 3-K, pre-K and kindergarten through fifth grade amid the pandemic. The announcement marks a major policy reversal for the nation’s largest school system, less than two weeks after de Blasio, a Democrat, announced that schools were shutting down because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
New York City’s District 75 schools, which serve students with special needs, will reopen for all grade levels on Dec. 10.
“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 at a press conference. “One of the crucial things we heard from our union partners is more testing and required consent forms or medical exemptions.”
“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,” he said.
De Blasio added on Twitter that “wherever possible we will move to 5 day a week in-person learning.”
“We want our kids in the classroom for as much time as possible,” de Blasio wrote. “Our families do, too. We’ll work to make it happen.”