One month out from the first day of public school, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is still working on protocol for public school students who have to quarantine because of a COVID diagnosis and insisted that there will not be a remote learning option this fall despite the rise of the highly contagious delta variant in the city.

“We're not going to remote as we had previously. I've made that very clear. Everyone's coming back to school,” de Blasio said at a press conference in Brooklyn Thursday.

He added, “How we deal with a kid who is out for a week is something we're working through right now, but we're going to be on a fully in-person system.”

New York City public schools open on September 13th. The Department of Education has not released an update to its guidance for schools managing COVID outbreaks. In the last school year, the city’s policy to close entire schools for two or more unrelated COVID cases in separate classes was criticized for being overly zealous, and the DOE ultimately loosened the protocol.

De Blasio said he’s counting on vaccination of as many students and adults as possible, and that he was confident that parents of kids who are eligible for a vaccine will ensure they’re vaccinated in time for the start of school on September 13th. All teachers, students, and staff will wear masks.

The city is pouring more resources into vaccinating schoolkids and their families—the DOE recently said they’ll call families with information about vaccines, and will set up home visits by request. School PTAs can get $100 for every person they help get vaccinated. City officials have said nearly 50% of New York City kids ages 12-17 have gotten at least one dose.

De Blasio did not directly address the population of younger students under the age of 12 who cannot be vaccinated, but said the school system was able to operate safely last year when vaccines weren’t widely available.

“We have a huge number of vaccinated people in the school system -- kids and adults alike. We can do this safely. We did it safely even when we didn't have vaccinations. So there is no question in my mind, the right thing to do is get our kids back into the classroom,” he said. (Parents and advocates for medically vulnerable children are still awaiting clarity on what options will be available for those students.)

Mark Cannizzarro, who heads the New York City principals’ union, questioned the feasibility of de Blasio’s plan while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to maintain three feet of social distancing in classrooms with all 900,000 of the system’s students back.

“What the mayor needs to understand is he cannot have it both ways. He wants no remote option. And he wants all the kids back in school. And he wants three feet of distancing. Those three things combined, can not happen in too many schools,” said Cannizzaro, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. “So no matter what he dictates from above, if it can't be done, it can't be done.”

De Blasio said the city had a singular goal for schools this fall.

“We've got one plan, let's be really clear. One plan: all kids back to the classroom,” he said. “We're going to follow up and come back between now and the opening of school on how we're going to handle the temporary situation like if a kid is out for a few days,” he said, and added,

“In the end, Plan A is Plan A and the best way to get to plan A is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”