New York again pushes back in-person classes

New York again pushes back in-person classes
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New York City will again postpone in-person classes that had been set to resume on Monday, Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York area will lift capacity restrictions May 19 NYC 24-hour subway service resumes May 17 Schumer demands restoration of 24-hour New York subway service MORE (D) announced Thursday.

The Sept. 21 start date had already been a delay for the nation's largest school district, which originally had been set to reopen schools on Sept. 10.

The mayor said that students will return in phases, with special-education students and pre-kindergarten children returning first next week. Elementary schools will open Sept. 29, while middle and high schools will open Oct. 1, he said, according to a New York NBC affiliate.


De Blasio said at a Thursday news conference that he had been persuaded to switch to a rolling process after a meeting with union leaders representing teachers and principals.

Labor leaders have long sounded the alarm about a reopening, saying some buildings’ poor ventilation could lead to outbreaks. They have also frequently cited a staffing shortage, which de Blasio said was what ultimately forced his hand.

"They acknowledged progress has been made but more had to be done to make sure that things would be as strong as they needed to be," he said. "Nothing replaces in-person learning. We believed from day 1 we could ensure health and safety first but also ensure the best-quality education. Everyone here at this table has devoted a lot of our lives to proving the power of public education to uplift every young person, knowing they will be our future. It has to be fair and equal."

De Blasio pledged to send another 2,500 staffers, after previously having pledged to send another 2,000. Educators’ unions have said far more are needed, calling for up to 10,000 more.

"This is a number that gives us what we believe we need to get started," he said.

Earlier in the week, the mayor said 55 city Department of Education employees have tested positive for the virus, including 45 teachers. Forty-two percent of students have already opted to enroll for all-online classes.