The closure of coronavirus-related public schools in the Big Apple has led to a single-digit decline, with middle schools partially reopening on Thursday – while nearly a quarter of the Department of Education employees are now vaccinated against the virus.
According to DOE data, only three city schools were temporarily closed on Tuesday due to positive student or employee cases.
This is an obstacle from earlier months, when hundreds of schools in the city were often closed together due to COVID-19 cases.
On 22 December, for example, a total of 272 operating school buildings were closed due to coronaviruses.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the city’s existing policy of closing a school with two or more unrelated COVID-19 cases would be re-enacted.
“We’ve got time and new information to go with it,” he told reporters. “Clearly our schools are safe. In the beginning the abundance of caution was the right approach. But now our children need to be in school. “
He also said that some of the DOE’s 120,000 teachers, guidance counselors, social workers and other workers have now received the COVID-198 vaccine.
Separately, the United Federation of Teachers said that 8,000 members – including teachers and paraprofessionals – have received the shot through their testing program.
Neither agency can say on Wednesday whether the union’s tally is included in the City Hall’s overall tally.
This number does not count teachers and school employees who receive vaccines in private or out of town.
Union chief Michael Mulgrey, who has previously cheated City Hall for not providing enough teacher vaccination data, said more should be done.
“UFT represents more than 120,000 teachers, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals and other school-based members,” he said in a statement. “Even putting the most positive spin on city numbers, there are thousands of employees who have not yet reached the vaccine.”
Mulgray said the union has prescribed 23,000 vaccinations for members, but only 8,000 people have actually taken the shot.
The nation’s largest school system of about one million children has about 75,000 in-class teachers.
Although the city and the UFT have pushed for comprehensive teacher vaccinations, de Blasio indicated on Wednesday that they were not a prerequisite for widespread reopening.
“By the time we had the vaccine available, we had proven the safety of New York City public schools,” he said.
“We set because of the gold standard. And this is true and we are going to continue to bring schools back and vaccinate more and more people at the same time. “
Hizzoner reiterated his optimism for a full reunion in September.
“The goal is for schools to be more open,” he said. “And then 100-percent full force in September.”
While the city’s middle schools have started opening from Thursday, the high schools remain in a completely remote program.
Despite a partial resurgence, about 70 percent of the city’s children are still fully learning from home.