Porter was joined by DOE Chief School Operations Officer Kevin Moran and Director of School Facilities John Shea for the tour of Murry Bergtraum High School in Lower Manhattan.
"This is the most important school opening that we have ever been a part of," Ross Porter said. "It's time to bring our babies back to the buildings, and I'm ready."
The city is providing PPE to students and staff, including hand sanitizer and KN95 masks.
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Every classroom will be sanitized every night with an approved solution to kill COVID on surfaces.
"We work with the DOE facilities to make sure the chemicals they're using in the sprayers are safe," SEIU Local 32BJ Vice President Shirley Aldebol said.
Purifiers will recirculate the air in classrooms and large spaces like cafeterias as an added layer of protection.
The city says custodian engineers will use a tool to measure the air flow rate, and if it's not circulating enough, the classroom won't be used until it's fixed.
"In consultation with health department, the base line ventilation in our schools is perfectly safe," Shea said. "But if we can add extra protection like air purifiers, we absolutely want to do that."
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This year, the city is using the updated CDC recommendation of three feet of social distancing instead of six last year.
The city is trying to calm concerns for parents and students apprehensive about returning.
"That's what today is about," Ross Porter said. "We want to show you what we've done. We will continue to be transparent about what's happening in our buildings."
Porter also announced that every building serving students ages 12 and older will host a vaccination site for their school communities during the first week of school, accounting for approximately 700 sites.
Each school will have a site scheduled for every day during the first week of school - on 9/13, 9/14, 9/15, and 9/17 (schools will be closed on 9/16 in observance of Yom Kippur).
Vaccination sites will return to schools during the week of October 4 to provide second doses.
Parental consent for minors is required, and schools will share more information about providing consent prior to the start of school.
Family members and staff can receive vaccines at the school, but in-school sites will not be open to the general public.
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