Classroom doors are swinging open for about a million New York City public school students in the nation’s largest experiment of in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.
The start of the school year Monday coincides with several other milestones in the city’s pandemic recovery that hinge on vaccine mandates.
Nearly all of the city’s 300,000 employees will be required to be back in their workplaces as the city ends remote work. Most will either need to be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Teachers will also be soon subjected to a vaccine mandate, with no opt-out for weekly testing, though teachers have until Sept. 27 to get their first shot.
According to The Associated Press, New York City is going full steam ahead with in-person learning — schools will not be offering an option for remote learning during the 2021-22 school year. Masks will be required for all students and school staff members in New York City and across the state.
“Our kids need to be in school, and it’s unbelievable that some kids haven’t seen the inside of a classroom for a year and a half,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “There are massive consequences to that, including health care consequences. The healthiest, best place for kids to be is in school.”
The city was also set to start enforcing rules requiring workers and patrons to be vaccinated to go indoors at restaurants, museums and entertainment venues. New Yorkers will now need to present an official record of vaccination, like a CDC vaccine card or a photocopy, or use one of two mobile city-approved mobile apps to access such venues.