NEW YORK (AP) — Some 51,000 more New York City students will return to in-person schooling later this month, bringing the total number of students in school buildings to 365,000 out of 960,000 non-charter public school students, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
“We have just over 50,000 students who have opted in for in-person learning again across all grade levels,” the Democratic mayor said at a virtual news briefing. “They are all welcome back."
Parents whose children were attending school remotely were given a two-week window ending last Friday for opting back in to classroom learning. De Blasio said he was not surprised that the majority of families choose to stick with remote schooling.
“My view is, a lot of parents were really focused on the scheduling question,” the mayor said. “They had gotten into a schedule that worked for them with remote. The kids had gotten used to and like the teachers they had. And they didn’t want to disrupt that. I think that’s where most parents were at.”
De Blasio added that some parents may still choose online learning next fall, but he expects that “the vast majority of parents are going to want their kids in school five days a week.”
Meanwhile, students and families can attend in-person graduation ceremonies starting May 1 under guidelines announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday.
New York is set to allow hundreds of people to attend both indoor and outdoor graduation ceremonies as long as organizers follow capacity limits, face mask rules, physical distancing, contact tracing and health screening rules.
Schools, colleges and universities can hold indoor ceremonies of up to 100 people — or two attendees per student — as long as the number of attendees is at most 50% of the venue's capacity. That capacity limit also applies to outdoor ceremonies of fewer than 200 people.
Attendees of those smaller ceremonies don't need to provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result, according to Cuomo's rules, unlike attendees of larger graduations.
The governor said he hopes that increased vaccination will help cut down increasing infections among young people. He's directing 21,000 vaccines for SUNY students, and another 14,000 for private colleges to vaccinate students before the school year ends.
New York has among the highest levels of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the nation, though rates are slowly dropping: the state reported 4,118 hospitalized patients with the virus as of Sunday, down 7% from the previous Sunday. More than 49,000 people in New York tested positive and roughly 400 people have died in hospitals and nursing homes in the last seven days, down 10% and 9% from the previous seven days.