NYC parents, educators frustrated about unclear COVID safety protocols as school year nears

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NEW YORK — With less than four weeks until schools reopen in New York City, parents have yet to hear how classrooms will be laid out and what safety protocols will be in place.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday said vaccinations are the focus point of the game plan, but parents want to know what’s the plan for kids who cannot receive a COVID shot.

They have not yet been authorized for children under the age of 12.

The union representing teachers says more than 200 schools are over capacity and will struggle to keep kids distanced.

State Senator John Liu is demanding the mayor share information about what this September will look like as cases of the delta variant rise.

Liu, as chairman of the Senate’s New York City Education Committee, oversees the Department of Education and how schools are run.

As of Thursday, 56% of New York City children ages 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, de Blasio said. 

If vaccinated children are exposed to coronavirus in a classroom, they will not have to quarantine as long as they are showing no symptoms. But the mayor offered no insight for learning at home options for those children who are showing symptoms or for the unvaccinated.

Liu is urging for there to be a remote option so parents who want another education option can feel safe.

A New York City Department of Education official said they announced their plan for a safe and full reopening in May.

“New York City schools set the gold standard for health and safety and we can’t wait to welcome every student back on September 13,” the spokesperson said.

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