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When Will NYC High Schools Reopen?

When Will NYC High Schools Reopen?

NYC high schools will reopen for in-person learning on March 22 and all sports will return beginning mid-April.


After hitting a 3 percent rate in positive COVID-19 cases in NYC, former schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced that New York City’s public schools closed for in-person learning on Thursday, Nov. 19. Since then, 3K through fifth grade and District 75 schools have reopened for in-person learning, but sixth through twelfth grades are  still learning remotely. This begs the question, when will NYC middle and high schools reopen for in-person learning?

When will NYC schools reopen?

NYC schools for grades 6-8 reopened for in-person learning on Thursday, Feb. 25. Teachers and staff returned on Wednesday, Feb. 24. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter announced that 55,000 high schools will reopen for in-person learning on Monday, March 22. Teachers and staff members will return on Thursday, March 18 to prepare classrooms. 50 percent of NYC high schools will offer in-person learning 5 days a week to all or a majority of students. de Blasio and Porter also announced a return of all NYC school sports in mid-April.

"Sports in particular provide a much-needed outlet for our kids and they have been without that for nearly a year at this point," said Porter. "By having important opportunities and offerings like sports that are driven by student interests, we can expect to see students more engaged and excelling in academics. We are going to continue with what we know works."

To reintroduce all sports, strict safety protocols like phasing in, masking, regular testing, no use of locker rooms, and limited indoor use will be implemented. The same safety precautions that have made the reopenings of schools successful will be applied to the reintroduction of sports. Spectators will not be allowed for now and all sports will occur outside where possible. 



Safety protocols will continue at NYC schools as they had been in the past, like weekly in-person testing for students and staff, nightly deep-cleaning, mandated social distancing, mask wearing, and support and monitoring from the situation room. Additional staff have been hired to support NYC's Situation Room in responding quickly to schools and teams have been added to conduct weekly testing. 

de Blasio says he anticipates NYC schools to be back 100 percent by September 2021 and this is a "major step towards that."

"I have to emphasize the value of schools for health overall. It's emotional health, it's mental health, it's physical health," says Jay Varma, MD, NYC's Senior Health Advisor. "Everything we do in life is about balancing risks. We have seen a risk of Covid, we know how real and dangerous it is, and we have developed a model to reduce that risk. What we haven't done is figure out a model to reduce the isolation and the mental and emotional and physical harms from being separated. The best approach to that is to bring kids back to in-person schooling and we only do that when we have found a way to reduce and manage the risk of Covid, which we have developed a very successful model for doing." 

So what does this mean for students, teachers, and parents in NYC schools?

One thing Mayor de Blasio urges parents to do is fill out and turn in the COVID-19 testing consent form, which he says, “will be absolutely required for any child to come into the school.”

Everything we know about the 2020-2021 NYC public school calendar can be found here. 

 


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