Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade classrooms will reopen on Thursday, Feb. 25. Middle school staff with in-person assignments will return on Feb. 24 to set up for the safe return of students.
To reopen middle schools, the mayor had to demonstrate that the city could conduct randomized weekly testing of 20% of staff and students in every middle school building without any diminishment in testing in elementary, K-8 and District 75 schools. Thanks to the additional funding for schools in the federal stimulus package passed in December, the mayor now has the resources to substantially increase the city’s school testing capacity and has a plan that brings the city into compliance with the New York State plan for New York City schools.
This level of testing is what has kept our school communities safe. No middle school student will be allowed to stay in school for in-person learning without a consent form signed by their parent or guardian.
The city has also pledged its support to provide all elementary and middle school educators with in-person assignments with an increased opportunity to be vaccinated through the union’s vaccine program and the city’s new vaccination sites dedicated to DOE employees. In the weeks ahead, the city has agreed to allocate thousands more vaccines for educators with the goal to offer the vaccine to all in-person elementary and middle school teachers who want it. We will be providing you with more details shortly.
In-person middle school educators will have the next two weeks to plan for the transition. Medical accommodations that were granted earlier this year will continue to be honored through June.
As school buildings that have not been used in months are reopened, our commitment to the safety standards that have kept us safe must not waver. Please report immediately any issues with personal protective equipment, ventilation or cleaning practices so we resolve them.
We are now past the midway point of this arduous and exhausting school year. I cannot thank you enough for sticking with it and doing everything you can to help your students continue to learn and grow when all our lives have been turned upside down by this terrible virus.
We are all here for each other. Please call us at 212-331-6311 if you have any questions and concerns.
Michael Mulgrew, UFT President
Richard Mantell, UFT Vice President for Middle Schools