Omicron Update NYC: New York City schools set to reopen after break with new COVID safety measures

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByChantee Lans via WABC logo
Monday, January 3, 2022
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Joe Torres has more on New York City schools reopening after winter break.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City public schools are set to resume class in-person following the holidays on Monday with extra precautions in place.

Starting this week, both vaccinated and unvaccinated students will now be tested. New York City will also double the amount of weekly testing in public schools.

NYC is the largest public school system in the nation with nearly 1 million students.

PS 58 in Carroll Gardens, however will be closed on Monday. The school's principal sent a letter to parents that the closure is due to staffing shortages caused by COVID.

The DOE tells Eyewitness News that this was not authorized and there are substitutes that could have worked.

Before winter break, schools were randomly testing 10% of their unvaccinated students. Parents and the teachers' union pushed back and said that wasn't enough.

The city has also changed its rules to limit quarantine. Instead of an entire classroom shifting to remote learning, when one or more students test positive, all students in the class will be given a rapid at-home test.

Those who test negative and are asymptomatic can return the day after their first negative test. Students will then be given a second at-home test within seven days of their exposures.

The state will give the school districts two million tests to support the new changes.

"The test kits, I've certainly done them myself, they are not super easy but with the instructions they are entirely doable," said Health + Hospitals President Dr. Mitchell Katz. "You have to read the instructions but if you read the instructions, you will get it right. New Yorkers are a smart and savvy group and I believe in them."

Mayor Eric Adams said he's on board with the changes.

"My schools are going to be open, my children are going to be inside the schools, they're going to wear their masks, we're going to take precaution, we're going to extend and have additional testing that's going to take place, the safest place for our children is inside a school building," Adams said. "And it's going to take a lot for me to close my schools, we must deal with COVID in real time, and we have to educate our children and also protect them."

On Sunday, Adams reiterated that keeping schools open is his priority to normalize the educational environment.

"We're going to have massive testing, we're going to double the number of tests, to make sure that those parents are allowing us to test their children, we can do so, the virus clearly is dictating that the safest place for children is in a school building," he said. "So we want to focus on that and normalize education as best as possible. And we're going to do it, our children will be fine."

Schools in Yonkers will start remote classes this week after 25% of their students who took rapid tests over the holiday break tested positive for COVID.

Several schools districts in New Jersey have also announced they will start off January with remote learning as well.

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