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New York City has opened all its schools for in-person instruction

Oct. 1, 2020
The nation's largest public school system is the first large district in the nation to reopen all its schools.

New York City, the nation's largest public school system, has completed the reopening of all its schools

The New York Times reports that middle and high school principals welcomed students back into their buildings Thursday morning for the first time since March; elementary school children started earlier this week.

About half a million students, from 3-year-olds in pre-K programs to high school seniors, have now returned to school. Another 480,000 children have opted to start the school year remote-only, an indication of how wary many New Yorkers are of sending their children back to classrooms in a city that still fears a second wave of the Covid-19 virus.

Despite considerable political opposition to reopening and significant planning problems that forced Mayor Bill de Blasio to twice delay the start of in-person classes, New York is the only large district in the nation that has reopened all its schools for in-person instruction.

Some other big districts are not far behind, though they have faced their own challenges. Schools in Miami-Dade are set to reopen on Monday, at the order of the Florida state education commissioner, despite the strong opposition of the teachers’ union. School leaders in Houston, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and San Diego are also planning on bringing at least some students back into classrooms later this month.

Like many other big city school leaders, Cindy Marten, the superintendent in San Diego, said that she was watching New York largely to see what it takes not just to open schools, but to be able to keep them open as students and staff test positive for Covid, as seems almost inevitable.

“As cases are spiking, what’s happening, and what kinds of decisions are they making, and what are they basing their decisions on?” Marten said

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