Middle and high school students who are at home full-time can also register during the two-week registration period from March 24th to April 7th. However, there is no schedule as to when they might be able to return to school.
About 488 high schools were partially reopened on Monday.
The entire school system closed in mid-November when the city’s Covid-19 infection rate hit 3 percent. Elementary schools reopened in December, and The middle schools opened in February. In recent weeks, the city-wide infection rate has been between 6 and 7 percent.
“We obviously want back the maximum number of children that we can make safe,” said de Blasio at a press conference on Monday. “Our goal is the maximum number of children back, the maximum number of days per child.”
De Blasio greeted students with his new school chancellor, Meisha Ross Porter, at the School of Law, Government and Justice in the Bronx on Monday morning.
“What a good sign, what a hopeful sign for our future … to see teenagers so ready to be back in school, happy to be with their friends again, happy to be with their teachers again”, said de Blasio.
Many city high schools have students in remote classes even when they are physically in school due to staff shortages and planning problems due to the city’s hybrid learning system. De Blasio admitted that this was happening but insisted that it was not “the norm”.
In line with the new guidelines for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued last week, the city will reduce the required distance between students in elementary schools to three feet, de Blasio and public health officials said. Six feet of space is still required when students take off their masks to eat and in certain other situations.
This will allow more students who are currently only working remotely to return. Due to social distancing requirements, many students who have chosen personal study can only attend a few days a week and stay home other days. Other students can come five days a week, depending on how busy their school is.
De Blasio, while optimistic about schools reopening, said it was “time to reassess the pace of other reopenings” while coronavirus cases in New York remain high due to more contagious varieties. Governor Phil Murphy in neighboring New Jersey said Monday he would suspend reopening there. New Jersey and New York had the highest per capita case rates in the country.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently allowed the city’s restaurants to increase indoor capacity to 50 percent.
“We have to stop there. That would be my strong opinion,” said de Blasio. The governor also approved indoor fitness classes, a decision the mayor chastised, as well as larger gatherings and the reopening of performing arts venues.
De Blasio and Porter announced on Monday that the city schools would be spared budget cuts They should last due to the decline in student enrollment.