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New York City public elementary schools to reopen in-person

ABC News logo ABC News 11/29/2020
a kitchen with a dining table: A classroom is empty with the lights off, Nov. 19, 2020, at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York City. © Michael Loccisano/Getty Images A classroom is empty with the lights off, Nov. 19, 2020, at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced elementary schools will be reopening in-person on Monday, Dec. 7, in a reversal from a previous decision.

De Blasio said Sunday testing would be done weekly and testing consent forms will be required for students to return. Additionally, District 75 schools that cater to students with disabilities will reopen beginning Thursday, Dec. 10.

The mayor added that the city would be moving to five-day in-person learning as much as possible, transitioning away from a hybrid model.

MORE: New York City public schools close, perplexing public health experts, educators, parents, students

The nation's largest school district shut its doors in mid-November as novel coronavirus rates crept upward in New York City, with a positivity rate above 3% over a seven-day rolling average, a standard the city had set for when schools would close.

It was a move that frustrated many parents, teachers and students -- and even prompted questions from public health experts.

MORE: Potential COVID-19 surge following Thanksgiving could cause 'humanitarian crisis,' experts warn

After closing the schools, de Blasio said Sunday, "We went about the work immediately of resetting the entire equation and trying to determine a path that would be sustainable regardless of the challenges we faced. We needed something sustainable that could link us up to the time we would have the vaccine widely distributed. And so we focused on increasing the health and safety measures, doubling down on the things that work, making them even more stringent and exacting."

The new plans included the increased testing -- from monthly to weekly -- and requiring testing consent forms to return to the building.

The reopening of schools is focusing on younger grades, de Blasio said, as studies have shown that COVID-19 impacts younger children less harshly. There is no word yet on reopenings for middle and high schools.


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