NEW YORK CITY — Dr. Anthony Fauci says keeping New York’s schools open is the correct approach as the state sees a surge in coronavirus cases, however if hospitals don’t stabilize, closing restaurants and bars would be the right thing to do.
Fauci joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a coronavirus briefing on Monday, as 850 school buildings reopened for New York City’s youngest students.
About 190,000 children in 3-K, pre-kindergarten and grades K-5 are back in the classroom and more than 150 schools are ready to offer students in-person learning five days a week.
Under new rules from the city, all students and staff returning to the classroom must consent to a random weekly COVID-19 testing program.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said the union is not aware of any of its teachers refusing to be tested. However, one issue for teachers going forward is that they’re short staffed.
On Staten Island, meanwhile, elementary schools in orange zones will be reopening on Wednesday, followed by special needs schools on Thursday.
Schools chancellor Richard Carranza told PIX11 the Department of Education is pushing principles to offer in-person learning five days a week to take the burden off overcrowded virtual classrooms.
For students learning remotely, Carranza said more than 60,000 devices have been given out since schools started in late September. He said the Department of Education is on track to give devices to every child in need by winter break.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the goal is to get middle schools to reopen by January. High schools will reopen last, but de Blasio did not give a definitive timeline.