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New York School Reopening Pushed Back To Sept. 21


Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office)

NEW YORK , NY — New York City schools’ return to in-person classes has been pushed back until Sept. 21.

The 10-day delay is part of a deal with educator unions announced Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The deal appears to avert a potential teacher strike that loomed before the previously-planned Sept. 10 full reopening.

“What would have happened on Sept. 10 now happens on Sept. 21,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio said the deal gives teachers set additional days — Sept. 10, 11, 14 and 15 — to prepare for returning to classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There will then be a three-day “transitional period” starting Sept. 16 in which all instruction will be remote, de Blasio said.

In-person classroom instruction will begin on Sept. 21, officials said.

The deal sets up a monthly medical monitoring program that includes random COVID-19 tests for students and staff, de Blasio said.

“Yes, that will be done on a mandatory basis,” he said.

Jay Varma, the city’s senior advisor on public health, said the monitoring program is focused on people physically present in schools and will look for a 10 to 15 percent sample size in its tests.

Any child who is sick or shows signs of coronavirus infection should stay out of schools and get tested, Varma said.

The city will set up testing vans and sites at schools for added coverage to its 200 COVID-19 testing locations, de Blasio said.

The deal was struck with two unions — the United Federation of Teachers and Council of School Supervisors & Administrators — that raised vocal concerns over de Blasio’s push to bring students back to classrooms on Sept. 10.

The UFT even threatened to strike over safety concerns — an action barred by state law.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew struck a more conciliatory tone Tuesday as he sat beside de Blasio for the announcement about the deal. He called it an example of how to get things done.

“We will have a stronger instructional program because of all we’re about to do over the next two weeks,” Mulgrew said.

De Blasio called the deal a “revision” that gives teachers and educators more time to prepare but also ensures students get back to school soon.

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