This is our daily update following the reopening of NYC schools for Friday, December 4th, 2020.
Here's the latest:
The public elementary schools in the South Shore of Staten Island—one of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s designated orange zones due to alarming rates of COVID-19—will reopen next week with a date still pending, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
As the city prepares to reopen all elementary schools Monday after the school system went all-remote November 18th as the city's average positivity rate increased, de Blasio promised those Staten Island schools will also be included in the reopening plans, though not for Monday.
“Next week, we intend to open schools in that orange zone area of Staten Island,” de Blasio said on the Brian Lehrer Show Friday. The state’s different zone designations—with red and orange being the most severe—place restrictions on gatherings and closes schools. Orange zone schools, though, can reopen if buildings are cleaned, students and staff are tested, the positivity rate remains low, and a testing protocol is in place.
The mayor’s comments clarify what Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said at a Community Education Council meeting Wednesday night, when he mentioned that the city’s school reopening plan “also does exclude schools that are currently located in the state designated orange zones or red zones.”
De Blasio said the city is still working on the reopening plans for the orange zone schools—which were labeled as such on November 26th—but they will open again at some point next week. “We have some additional work to do. We haven't fixed the day yet—we will do that very quickly, obviously. But we still intend to move forward for next week,” he said Friday.
New York City's public school buildings shut down in-person classes when the city’s seven-day rolling average of positive COVID-19 tests exceeded the 3% threshold that de Blasio had long promised would trigger a closure of the school system. Since announcing his second schools reopening plan, the mayor has vowed that the entire school system won't close again.
The reopening plan prioritizes the youngest students and students with disabilities. Blended learning students in 3K-5th grade are slated to return on Monday, while District 75 students in all grades will return on December 10th. Middle and high schoolers will continue in remote learning.