Mayor and School Chancellor Richard Carranza released a “Back to School Pledge,” which outlines the features of their reopening plan, including the fact that all schools will have a 30-day supply of personal protective equipment at all times and schools will close when the Percentage positive Covid-19 tests in the city are 3% or more on a 7-day average.
New York City schools, which make up the largest school district in the United States, are slated to open on September 10 for a mix of face-to-face and distance learning.
“We will make sure that these schools are safe and ready. And if we do not believe that they are safe and ready, they will not reopen,” said de Blasio on Thursday.
Compared to De Blasio’s threshold of 3% Covid-19 infection rate for schools that should close again, the city’s positive test rate on Thursday was 0.88%.
New York teachers on Wednesday threatened strike or legal action unless the city government responds to specific safety requirements like a stricter Covid-19 testing plan and protocols to isolate students showing symptoms of the virus.
“The moment we feel that the mayor is trying to force people into an unsafe situation, we go to court and take a job action,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the union that powers the city’s 133,000 teachers and added that a “job action” could include a strike.
The union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the mayor’s promise on Thursday.
“Now it is time to say officials, take the opportunity and answer the call,” said de Blasio of the teachers.
The plan to reopen the mayor’s school “encourages” teachers to get tested monthly for Covid-19 and promises that the city’s testing sites will accelerate results for the city’s school staff.
If at least two Covid-19 cases are confirmed in different classrooms of a school, the mayor’s plan is for the school to remain closed for 14 days. If 1 or 2 linked cases are recorded in the same classroom, only that classroom needs to be closed for 14 days.
“Schools will notify all families and students in the school as soon as a case is confirmed in the laboratory,” said the NYC Department of Education website.