New York City public schools to reopen for in-person learning

Schools will reopen on 7 December, starting with elementary schools for students whose parents agree to weekly testing

New York City’s public schools will begin to reopen for in-person learning on 7 December , starting with elementary schools for students whose parents agree to a weekly testing regimen for the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday.

The schools were closed less than two weeks ago after the citywide rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive exceeded a 3% benchmark agreed to by the mayor and teachers’ union.

“It’s a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be,” De Blasio told reporters on Sunday, adding the 3% benchmark was being scrapped and pointing to research that shows young children appear to be less vulnerable to Covid-19.

Upon reopening, weekly #COVID19 testing will be in effect and testing consent forms will be required for our students to return.

Families, you can fill out the form TODAY on your @NYCSchools account — go to

— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 29, 2020

On Sunday, the city’s seven-day rolling average of positive tests was 3.9%, De Blasio said.

The schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, who joined the mayor at a news conference, said with the new measures he believed the city could “safely and successfully keep our schools open for the duration of this pandemic”.

Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that the labor union was supportive of the mayor’s phased reopening so long as “stringent testing was in place”.

About 300,000 of 1.1 million pupils in the New York City public schools system had been attending some form of in-person learning since the mayor began reopening schools in September, following months of fully remote learning after the city became a global coronavirus hotspot in the early spring.

The United States has reported over 4m new cases so far in November and over 35,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a Reuters tally, with more hospitalizations than ever this year and deaths reaching their highest level in six months.

While cases are rising in New York, the state has one of the lowest positive test rates in the country with about 3% of tests coming back positive. In Idaho, South Dakota and Iowa, more than 40% of tests have come back positive, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project.

In New York there are hotspots in Staten Island and in Buffalo.

Reuters contributed to reporting

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New York City public schools to close again as coronavirus cases rise
Closure plan as city reaches 3% Covid test positivity rate as Mayor Bill de Blasio says ‘we must fight the second wave’

Martin Pengelly in New York

18, Nov, 2020 @8:27 PM

Article image
CDC advises US schools to reopen for in-person learning in the fall
Revised recommendation is first time agency has taken a stance on reopening schools

Lauren Aratani

09, Jul, 2021 @5:19 PM

Article image
New York City proposes vaccinating tourists in popular spots
Initiative would park vans administering the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine in tourist locations across the city

Lauren Aratani

07, May, 2021 @7:06 PM

Article image
Cuomo undercuts De Blasio bid to keep New York schools shut until September
New York City mayor announces schools closed until autumn but shortly afterwards governor insists decision to close buildings is his

Victoria Bekiempis and agencies

11, Apr, 2020 @9:17 PM

Article image
California and New York City to mandate vaccine for government workers
Department of Veterans Affairs becomes first major federal agency to require healthcare workers to receive Covid shot

Joan E Greve in Washington, Dani Anguiano in San Francisco and agencies

27, Jul, 2021 @12:40 PM

Article image
New York: 9,000 public workers put on unpaid leave for refusing Covid vaccine
Mayor says thousands of firefighters have called out sick in apparent protest, with 18 of 350 units out of service

Maya Yang and agencies

01, Nov, 2021 @6:18 PM

Article image
New York City coronavirus death toll jumps past 10,000 in revised count
Soaring death toll has been fueled by adding 3,778 people who weren’t tested for Covid-19 but are presumed to have died from it

Oliver Milman in New York

15, Apr, 2020 @1:31 PM

Article image
New York mayor De Blasio asks if Trump is telling city to 'drop dead' over Covid-19
Mayor of city at center of coronavirus outbreak says not enough is being done to help finances of areas struck by pandemic

Edward Helmore in New York City

19, Apr, 2020 @9:49 PM

Article image
New York City to fine people who refuse to wear masks as Covid rates rise
Bill de Blasio announces mask crackdown amid rise in positive tests, while officials reveal concern over virus increase in nine zip codes

Joanna Walters in New York

29, Sep, 2020 @6:36 PM

Article image
Florida wrestles with impossible question: when can schools reopen safely?
Broward county, the nation’s sixth-largest school district, is trying to work out a reopening plan – but no one is quite sure how, and when, it will happen

Jessica Glenza

12, Jul, 2020 @10:00 AM