Coronavirus NYC News: New York City plan to reopen schools coming next week, de Blasio says

New York City public school students remain home for remote learning after the city hit the 3% threshold

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Parents protest outside mayor's home for NYC schools to reopen
Candace McCowan reports on the protest from the Upper East Side.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor de Blasio said public schools will reopen to students "school by school" with a rolling plan to be announced next week.

Public schools have been closed since the city hit a 3% positivity rate last week.

"We will find a way back through this pandemic because we've proven we can keep schools safe, but we will have to come back in a different way given some of the challenges we are facing with this second wave bearing down on us," de Blasio said. "Next week we will put forward that plan. It will take a lot of engagement with parents. We will need a lot of help from parents, but we know parents want their kids back in school. They will be our partners."

Earlier, parents held a rally and protest outside Gracie Mansion. They're demanding a plan from Mayor Bill de Blasio on how and when he plans to reopen schools.

The group says they've grown to 15,000 members and they see no reason schools should not be reopened.

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But with the rising cases, much of the city might soon become an orange zone which would then give the state authority over schools.

"Parents have been completely left out of this process. We have no seat at the table and we are here to take our seat at the table," said Daniela Jampel, a parent and organizer.

About a dozen parents from Keep NYC Schools Open along with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, demanding answers on how schools will be reopened.

"I was furious two weeks ago, I was furious last week when schools closed and I'm furious today that schools are still closed and that my daughter is standing right next to me,"

Jampel said.

"When you take them out of school you're taking them out of their future," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.

The mayor promised last week when the city reached the 3 percent threshold and schools were closed that the city would have a plan before the holiday. That did not happen and hopes of reopening next Monday have been dashed.

One week ago, parents marched down Park Row to the gates of City Hall to deliver a petition with more than 12,000 signatures on it, demanding schools reopen.

The group of parents cited data which said that out of more than 140,000 COVID tests among teachers and students since mid-October, just 308 have come back positive.

That's a positivity rate of only 0.23%.

Politicians including Public Advocate Jumaani Williams and City Council Education Chair Mark Treyger have also been outspoken on their desire to see schools reopen.

While offering no details on the school reopening plan, the mayor did repeat that every student will have to have a consent form already filled out before entering the building.

"Every child will have to have a consent form on file because testing will be more frequent," he said. "Right now the norm in the schools has been once a month. That's going to increase. We are going to work out the exact amount, but that's going to increase."

de Blasio said the city will focus on Special Education District 75, and then early childhood and elementary school.

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