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More than 760,000 students and 85% of teachers in New York City will return to classrooms part-time

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Nearly three-quarters of New York City school students will return for in-person classes when the new academic year begins this fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

De Blasio said the parents of around 764,000 students have opted to send their children back to school for between one to three days a week as part of the city’s blended learning plan.

Meanwhile, 26 percent – or nearly 300,000 families – requested that their children continue to learn remotely full-time and not return to class when school resumes after summer break

‘This year is going to be different. We all know it,’ de Blasio said during his daily press briefing. ‘but it does not take away the excitement, the energy, possibility, and the meaning for our kids. Our kids have been yearning to reconnect with school.’

Around 85 percent of the school system’s 75,000 teachers also intend to return, while the remaining 15 percent will be conducting digital-only classes. 

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De Blasio said the parents of around 764,000 students have opted to send their children back to school for between one to three days a week as part of the city’s blended learning plan.

Meanwhile, 26 percent – or nearly 300,000 families – requested that their children continue to learn remotely full-time, and will not return to class when school resumes after summer break

Meanwhile, 26 percent – or nearly 300,000 families – requested that their children continue to learn remotely full-time, and will not return to class when school resumes after summer break

The hybrid schedule will feature classes of no more than 10 students at any one time, with upgrades to classroom ventilation systems, cleaning regimes and a mandatory face covering policy for all children and staff.

Hand-washing and hand-sanitizer stations will also be located throughout the school buildings.

Those who decided against in-school instruction can transition into a blended schedule at various times during the academic year. Those who opted-in from the start will also be permitted to return to remote learning upon request. 

Individual classes and schools may be closed temporarily should students or teachers test positive for COVID-19 at any stage. All of the city’s 1,800 schools will be shut down if the citywide positivity rate exceeds an average of three percent over a seven-day period.

According to de Blasio, the city’s rate has remained below three percent for the last two months – registering as low as one percent in the last 24 hours.

The reopening plan came as part of a 109-page document submitted by New York City to the state on Friday night. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday acknowledged the supplemental submission and said it was being reviewed.

In addition to the blended learning plan, the city is also calling for random temperature checks for students and teachers, with a 14-day mandatory quarantine order for anyone who tests positive.

Around 85 percent of the school system’s 75,000 teachers also intend to return, while the remaining 15 percent will be conducting digital-only classes (pictured: Teachers of a New York City middle school protest against it's air conditioning system that hasn't been repaired for seven years. If it's not fixed, Teacher Lisa Fitzgerald, left, says she and her colleagues will not return)

Around 85 percent of the school system’s 75,000 teachers also intend to return, while the remaining 15 percent will be conducting digital-only classes (pictured: Teachers of a New York City middle school protest against it’s air conditioning system that hasn’t been repaired for seven years. If it’s not fixed, Teacher Lisa Fitzgerald, left, says she and her colleagues will not return)

Those who decided against in-school instruction can transition into a blended schedule at various times during the academic year. Those who opted-in from the off-set will also be permitted to return to remote learning upon request.

Those who decided against in-school instruction can transition into a blended schedule at various times during the academic year. Those who opted-in from the off-set will also be permitted to return to remote learning upon request.

The plan looks appears incredibly ambitious, considering other large school systems – including Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston – have opted away from in-person instruction, insisting all students will be studying from home at the beginning of the new academic year.

De Blasio acknowledge the scale of the challenge during his press briefing Monday: ‘I’m going to say it now and I’ll say it a lot of times in the coming months, we are up against a challenge, but it’s not a challenge that’s going to go on forever.

‘At some point, likely in the course of this school year, there will be a vaccine, and that vaccine will be administered to kids and families all over New York City,’ he continued. ‘Then, we can start getting back to something more normal.’

De Blasio said the Department of Education is addressing safety concerns, like hiring more nurses and coordinating with the city’s test and trace program. He also said it’s working on ventilation and being able to open windows in classrooms.

‘If a classroom is not ready, that classroom simply will not be used. I want to affirm that to all parents,’ he said. ‘If any classroom we feel is not fit, we simply won’t use it. We’ll just segment it off and keep going until we do feel it’s ready to go.’

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza added that maintenance crews have been upgrading ventilation systems and filters at a number of schools.

‘I want to double down on what the mayor said – if there is any classroom that is not fit, we will not use that classroom, i.e. why we’re exploring alternate locations, as well,’ the chancellor continued.

They hybrid schedule will feature classes of no more than 10 students at any one time, with upgrades to classroom ventilation systems, cleaning regimes and a mandatory face covering policy for all children and staff

They hybrid schedule will feature classes of no more than 10 students at any one time, with upgrades to classroom ventilation systems, cleaning regimes and a mandatory face covering policy for all children and staff

The new academic year in New York City is set to commence on September 10. Carranza said students and families will learn what their blended learning plan schedule is starting from August 17, with everyone informed by August 24.

Depending on each school’s resources and classroom sizes, children are expected to sit in classrooms from anywhere between one and three times a week on alternating days.

Critics of the reopening plan noted Monday that parents who did not submit a response were automatically categorized as having opted-in for blended learning.

The DOE pushed back by insisting that only families who wanted to opt out of classroom learning were required to complete the survey. The department also pointed out that parents could revert their child’s schedule back to remote-only learning at any point in the year.

De Blasio, however, warned parents they should expect some initial turbulence come September.

‘I think it’s going to get a certain number of weeks to really get it to move smoothly,’ the mayor said.

In the meantime, Carranza has urged parents to prepare their children for what awaits them when they walk back through the school gates in four weeks time.

‘Start talking to your children – especially your younger children – about why it’s important to wear a mask,’ he said. ‘It’s an act of friendship; it’s an act of love.’

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