NYC schools report 83 COVID cases as teachers protest vaccine mandate

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Since the first day of classes in New York City Monday, there have been 83 reported school coronavirus cases, according to the city.

Thirty-three cases have been reported among students and 50 among teachers.

"Our buildings are safe," Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said. "The acknowledgment of cases is an acknowledgment of the added layers of safety and protection."

The good news is that no school has been fully shut down or has multiple cases under investigation, but there are dozens of positive cases and dozens of schools with one or more close classrooms.

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At PS185 in Harlem, where COVID shut a classroom down, second graders were focused on what second graders care about most.

"My favorite part of school was seeing my friends and coming back to school," student Dylan Calvada said.

It was not unlike the Richmond Pre-K center on Staten Island, where Porter stayed on message and insisted that positive cases are the result of the protocols working.

Of the roughly one million students in the public school system, attendance was at more than 82% -- lower than pre-pandemic years, which was more than 90% in 2019.

But as expected, it was higher than last year when just over 80% showed up for both in-person and remote learning.

"This is really good number for the first day, and it's going to grow rapidly in the coming days," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Vaccinated teachers who test positive will require a 10-day quarantine, and the city's vaccine mandate is also expanding to include charter schools not located in Department of Education buildings.

Most of these 200 or so charter schools, though, had already come up with vaccine protocols and mandates.

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Some parents say they are trusting the city and staying positive.

"I think the kids and the risk of transmission is low," one parent said. "And you don't want to strip them of their needs."

Meanwhile, in Foley Square Monday night, educators argued against the city's vaccination requirement.

Any teacher who does not qualify for a medical or religious exemption is on unpaid leave.

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