New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools are some of the safest places in the city while explaining his decision to reopen public elementary schools and resume in-person classes.
“When we laid down that 3% [infection rate threshold,] we did not have the information we have now,” he told CNN. “But now it’s time for something different.”
“That 3% standard, after we had so much experience with the schools, proved to be different than we thought it would be,” he added, saying that the model needs to be more sustainable for until there is a coronavirus vaccine. “We decided we need a lot more testing and to make that [available] in every school.”
Students in 3K, Pre-K and grades K-5 can resume in-person classes on Dec. 7 and the city will address when middle and high schoolers can return to in-person classes in the future.
There will be weekly testing in every school, and students will need to be tested and get a consent form to come, de Blasio said about the reopening directives put in place.
The current testing capacity only allows the city to bring back elementary school students. Over time, the city will also bring back middle and high school students, de Blasio said.
In case a student tests positive for Covid-19, the entire classroom will quarantine, he added.
“[If] there’s multiple cases in the school, there’s a careful investigation to determine whether the school only needs a temporary shutdown or full two-week quarantine,” he said Monday. “That has worked and it’s allowed us to keep the vast majority of our schools open the vast majority of the time. But it’s also given us the ability to pinpoint when there’s a problem and address it quickly through our test and trace corps.”