Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday the public school system of New York, the largest country, will once again give families a chance to enroll their children in personal classes, according to new clues issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new CDC leadership allows elementary school students wearing masks to be three feet apart, rather than six feet, in reopened schools. The city’s primary schools, nursery school programs and programs for children with complex disabilities will adopt the new distance guidelines in April, said Mr. De Blasio said, so that classrooms that have been working on a third capacity for many months can accommodate more students. With less distance between students, schools will be able to fit more children into every classroom in the city.
The city will continue to assess the risks of adapting distance rules for middle and high school students, said Mr. De Blasio said. The CDC said the relaxed three-foot guideline only applies to students in middle and high schools where community transfer is not high. (New York State has more cases per capita than any state other than New Jersey, and the New York City metro area has the country’s second highest number of new cases behind Idaho Falls, Idaho.)
The guideline still applies that adults in schools should keep a distance from each other to students. New York teachers have been eligible for the coronavirus vaccine since January.
After the school year began, the city gave families only one opportunity to choose personal classes last fall. The vast majority of parents, about 70 percent, preferred to have their children learn at home. Mr. De Blasio said families will have another chance to enroll their children in class from next week. Although it is not yet clear whether more middle and high school students will be able to return, Mr. De Blasio said the city hopes to realize how many of the students currently learning at a distance want to switch to classroom instruction. .
Some parents who opted for distance education last November, when virus cases were on the rise in New York City and there was no authorized coronavirus vaccine, said they would like to send their children to classrooms as there is more clarity about the virus.
Nevertheless, many non-white families in particular are still wary of personal learning, and a significant number of parents are likely to keep their children at home by the end of the school year in June.
The schools in New York, which reopened among the first in the country, had extremely low positive test scores. Mr. De Blasio is committed to fully reopening the school’s school system in September for full-time education for any child who wants it. He also said he expects the city to maintain a full-time option for some children this fall.