This is our regular update following the reopening of NYC schools for Tuesday, December 8th, 2020.
Here's the latest:
- NYC Public Schools Partially Reopen With Optimism And More Testing
- Do you have a tip or story to share about schools reopening in NYC? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (we can keep you anonymous)
While the city Department of Education has yet to release updated information on several key programs such as middle or high school admissions, the kindergarten application process will start this week.
The DOE announced that applications will open December 10th for children applying for a kindergarten seat next fall. The deadline for applications is set for January 19th.
Middle and high schools admissions usually wrap up in December but the DOE has not announced updated deadlines, and there’s also been no updates on the specialized high school admissions tests, which were originally scheduled for October 21st.
De Blasio Hints At Keeping Schools Open Even If Positive COVID Testing Rate Hits 9% Citywide
Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested on Tuesday that New York City public schools may remain open even if the city's seven-day average COVID-19 positive testing rate surpasses 9%—the state's current threshold for a systemwide closure of schools.
The mayor hinted at such an approach during a news conference when asked whether he would order all 1,600 school buildings shuttered for in-person learning if that COVID-19 positivity rate reaches 9% citywide. That school closure threshold was set by Governor Andrew Cuomo back in July. De Blasio later set his own standard to close schools at a 3% positive testing rate citywide, which he did on November 18th. Schools reopened on December 7th, with de Blasio declaring that "our plan is to use this approach all the way through to the vaccine and not have to shut down again."
Roughly 850 New York City school buildings reopened on Monday for children in pre-K through 5th grade. Special education students in District 75 schools will be going back to the classroom on Thursday, with middle and high school students still in full remote learning at least until January.
Avoiding school closures, even if the city passes the 9% benchmark, will depend on the COVID-19 positivity rate reported inside schools, according to de Blasio. He added that randomized school testing, which has gone from monthly to weekly, will determine the city's direction on school closures.
"I think we're going to see once again incredibly safe schools and that's going to teach us what we need to know for how we go ahead," de Blasio said. "So that State standard is in place now. But I think we're going to have a real conversation with the state and with the public going forward based on the actual facts we learn from 850 schools being open over these coming weeks."
Before schools closed, the positive testing rate inside schools was .28% on November 22nd. Test results for students returning back to school on Monday are not yet available.
De Blasio added that he believes the city's approach toward keeping schools from ever closing systemwide schools will keep them "open all the way to the point where we link up with a widespread distribution of the vaccine and then can bring back more and more students consistently."